HIV/AIDS is a global epidemic affecting more than 42 million people. First recognized in 1981, HIV affects the immune system by destroying specific white blood cells that defend the body against diseases. AIDS is the final stage of HIV, in which the human body is no longer able to protect itself from infections, diseases and cancers.
One of the Yerkes Research Center’s foremost scientific goals is the development of an HIV/AIDS vaccine that will help end the global epidemic now. A leading HIV/AIDS preventive vaccine that was developed and tested at Yerkes and is now licensed to GeoVax Labs, Inc., is in Phase 2a human clinical trials. GeoVax recently received FDA approval to use the same vaccine in a new Phase 1 clinical trial focused on treatment for individuals already infected with HIV.