The rate of HIV infection among Latinas is nearly four times higher than it is for non-Hispanic women, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is cited in the Summer 2011 issue of AARP Viva magazine. Moreover, according to the magazine article, 20 percent of all women ever diagnosed with HIV are Latina, and 5.5 percent of Latinas infected with the virus are 55 and older.

“Thirty years after the first cases of AIDS in the United States were reported by the CDC, statistics like these remind us that there remains much work to be done, especially among specific segments of the population that are more likely to suffer the effects of infection,” says Dr. Robert McNally, President and CEO of GeoVax Labs, an Atlanta-based biotechnology company that creates, develops and tests innovative HIV/AIDS vaccines.

“The best hope is to find preventive and therapeutic HIV vaccines.”

GeoVax is testing AIDS vaccine candidates for preventative and therapeutic purposes. Its therapeutic vaccine is designed to treat individuals already infected with the HIV virus and is intended to prevent these cases from progressing to full-blown AIDS.

Last February, GeoVax announced the results of Phase 1 clinical trial testing of its vaccine products involving three trial regimens; the vaccines showed excellent safety characteristics in each, with all the regimens inducing both antibody and T cell responses.

The company is also encouraged by the progress of a Phase 1 clinical trial for its therapeutic vaccine being conducted by the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and as of this month, the AIDS Research Alliance in Los Angeles.

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