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December 2013 World AIDS Day FROM PAGE 6


ally to explore new approaches to addressing this problem. The HPTN 065 study (also known as TLC-Plus), is assessing the feasibility of conducting widespread voluntary HIV testing, linking HIV-infected individuals to care and antiretroviral treatment, and providing incentives to individuals to adhere to treatment. The study is being conducted in New York City, and Washington, D.C.—both of which have communities at greater than average risk of HIV infection. Internationally, the recently launched HPTN 071 study, also called PopART, is examining whether offering expanded voluntary HIV testing along with enhanced delivery of antiretroviral treatment and prevention services can substantially reduce the number of new infections in South Africa and Zambia. The study will involve 21 communities and 1.2 million people in those countries.


NIH-funded research has


proven the effectiveness of such HIV prevention strategies as voluntary medical adult male circumcision and pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP (taking a daily antiretroviral pill to prevent HIV acquisition). In order to be effective, these strategies must be used consistently under strict guidelines. NIH supports behavioral and social science research designed to better understand how to foster adherence to medications, promote acceptance and overcome barriers to the use of effective HIV prevention tools.


The NIH also continues to


investigate new HIV prevention tools for those groups most at risk for HIV infection, including women and men who have sex with men. The multinational ASPIRE clinical trial, launched in 2012, is testing whether a vaginal ring containing the experimental antiretroviral drug dapivirine can prevent HIV infection in women. The recently launched MTN 017 External Web Site Policy clinical trial is examining the safety of a rectally applied gel containing the antiretroviral drug tenofovir for men who have sex with men.


A cornerstone of our HIV


prevention efforts continues to be the search for a safe and effective vaccine. The pathway to an effective HIV vaccine has been challenging and marked by disappointments; however, basic research advances this year are charting the course for a new generation of investigational HIV vaccines. Through the work of NIH scientists and grantees, we have gained insights into how HIV and a strong antibody response to the virus co-evolve in an infected person and improved our understanding


Leadership FROM PAGE 6 Asthma attacks in African-Amer-


ican communities in Atlanta dropped dramatically when the city temporarily barred the use of automotive vehicles in parts of the city to reduce traffic congestion when it hosted the 1996 Olympics, said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. He told the gathering that asthma attacks spiked up again when the


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of how B-cells create potentially protective immune system responses. Further, NIH-funded researchers have developed a new tool for identifying broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV that could help speed vaccine research and illuminated in exquisite detail the protein largely responsible for enabling HIV to enter human immune cells and cause infection.


Additionally, ongoing analyses of


the landmark RV 144 HIV vaccine trial conducted in Thailand are providing important information about human immune responses and other factors that may explain why the investiga- tional vaccine regimen reduced the risk of HIV acquisition by 31 percent. Large-scale investigational clinical trials to build on the RV 144 results are being planned for South Africa and Thailand.


We have reached the point when


the thought of an HIV cure is not unrealistic. Several cases, including that of a toddler, have demonstrated the possibility of sustained remission, in which patients control or perhaps even eliminate HIV without the need for a lifetime of daily antiretroviral therapy. NIH continues to focus on the important area of research toward a cure through basic science and clinical testing that is underway or in development.


On this World AIDS Day, we


take stock of what has been achieved and look forward to what can be accomplished in the near future toward the universally shared goal of ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic.


research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at www.niaid. nih.gov.


The Hampton Roads Messenger 11


Free Pet Waste Stations Available While They Last


Grant program targets Hampton Roads neighborhood associations, community groups and property managers


Don't let your


neighborhood go to the dogs. Beginning this month, Hampton Roads residents can apply for a free pet waste station through a new grant program from askHRgreen.org. Geared toward neighborhood associations, community groups and property managers that are ready to make scooping the poop a priority, the grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and applicants may apply online at askhrgreen.org/pet- waste-station-grant.


For those who qualify,


askHRgreen.org provides the pet waste station, which comes ready to install and includes a post, sign, bag dispenser, waste can, hardware, 400 dog waste bags and 50 can liners. The community group is responsible for installing the station, emptying the trash regularly and replacing the bags.


"This is a great way for community


groups to end the year on a green note," said Julia B. Hillegass, askHRgreen. org team leader. "Having access to both a communal receptacle and the


NIAID conducts and supports Your Opinion Matters FROM PAGE 2


The Office of the Director, the


central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at www.nih.gov/icd/od/.


The Office of AIDS Research, part


of the Office of the Director, plans and coordinates the scientific, budgetary, legislative and policy elements of the NIH AIDS research program. Additional information, including the trans-NIH strategic plan and budget, is available at www.oar.nih.gov.


vehicle restrictions were removed. Dr. Benjamin challenged those


who say tougher emissions regulations will hurt the automotive industry and lead to a loss of jobs. In flyers distributed at the forum, the California Electric Transportation Coalition, a nonprofit organization, cited a university study that said increased production of electric vehicles could be a catalyst for economic growth.


“Jobs are a red herring,” Dr.


Benjamin said. “You can’t work if you’re dead and you can’t work if you’re sick.”


brick, mortar and gravel to make up the landscape. Each student sat at a desk or on a bench attentively looking towards the front of the room. Classroom after classroom, student after student, each was focused on the lesson plan of the day. When the teacher spoke, you could hear a pin drop.


The first school we visited was


Ecole St. Jean de Dieu, which is part of the Minister’s initiative to promote access for vulnerable school-aged children who are outside of the education system. Most of the students at this school are homeless and live on the streets during the day but attend classes in the afternoons. I met 16 year olds who were in the second grade, far behind where they should be but trying to get an education to build a better life.


While traveling through Haiti I


also had the opportunity to visit the Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP) program which provides university scholarships in Haiti for straight-A students from disadvantaged backgrounds. One student, overcome by her past, cried as she told me about her life’s journey. I sat and listened to the passionate and personal stories of students in this program discussed how their world was changed as a result of the opportunity to continue their education.


I visited another school, Ecole


Nationale de Tabarre, an outdoor set of buildings, where I witnessed students reading books in their native tongue


bags, pet owners have no excuse for not cleaning up after their dogs. It's good for their neighborhood-and good for the environment."


In addition to being unsightly,


pet waste gets washed into nearby waterways when it rains and becomes a major source of nitrogen and bacteria pollution. This excess nitrogen and bacteria is responsible for cloudy, green, foul-smelling water, aquatic dead zones, declines in local fish and crab populations and beach closures.


Supplies are limited, and


askHRgreen.org will accept applications as long as the pet waste stations are in stock. For more info on ways to keep Hampton Roads waterways clean go to askHRgreen.org.


of creole donated by USAID’s read to learn program to make education more accessible for all children. From there we went to Lycee de Petionville, one of Haiti’s model high schools. I saw a classroom of over 100 7th graders packed into a room built for 30-40. After visiting some classrooms, I joined the basketball team for a brief scrimmage in the school’s cement courtyard and basketball court. It was a remarkable sight to see, two and three stories up an entire school looking down on the court.


The future of Haiti was looking


down on me. I saw hundreds of eyes, full of optimism and hope for a better tomorrow recognizing that having a strong education can put you on a path to a better life. These children, like other Haitian children across the country, want an education and are willing to try despite the odds against them.


It’s inspiring to see so many


children, teachers, and national leaders committed to making much needed investments in Haiti’s next generation. Parents and leaders in the U.S. and Haiti share a common desire to create a high quality education system for all that adequately prepares our children for success in their personal and professional lives. A strong Haiti can be built by a strong education system and a strong ministry of education. I want to continue being a good partner with President Michel Martelly, Minister Pierre and the entire Haitian government to strengthen the nation, one child at a time.


Arne Duncan is U.S. Secretary of Education Tell us about your


Church programs Churches@hamptonroadsmessenger.com


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