Cooperation may be key to cure

Following a global AIDS workshop at Harvard University last weekend that aimed to involve businesses in the fight against the disease, the company VaxGen announced on Monday the results of the first large AIDS vaccine test. While the test showed the vaccine did not prevent infection overall, it did provide interesting results by reducing infection rates in non-Hispanic minorities. With this news coming so soon after the forum, it only substantiates the ample opportunities for corporations to fund and help efforts to reduce AIDS and HIV infections.

As the first of four forums, the Harvard conference should continue to push this important issue into the spotlight since President George W. Bush highlighted his AIDS proposal in his State of the Union address last month. With so many people affected and the disease still spreading even further, it deserves more attention if the world ever hopes to drastically reduce infections. The conferences also appropriately target Africa and Asia, which desperately need more awareness, treatment and prevention efforts.

Businesses can also provide much needed money to increase what already works for preventing AIDS: Education. Especially in other countries, education helps people understand what behaviors increase the risk of infection and why condoms can drastically reduce the risk. Simple tactics can have a surprisingly substantial effect on this massive problem.

However, more complicated and expensive methods are necessary from the medical standpoint. Just dumping pills into these poorer regions will not effectively combat the AIDS epidemic, but efforts to make them easier to use, more affordable and better distributed will help.

University Wire — Boston U.