The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a significant public health issue that continues to present unique social, economic and public health challenges to governments, communities, and individuals. The number of people living with HIV continues to rise, due to two factors: new treatments that have improved survival rates of people infected with HIV and continued new infections. ICID understands the importance of linking communities together to enhance prevention strategies, improve access to screening and treatments, and exchange research knowledge to assist the development of HIV vaccines.
The Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI) Research and Development Alliance Coordinating Office (ACO) was established at the International Centre for Infectious Diseases (ICID) in Winnipeg in November 2011 as part of Canada's Renewed CHVI Vaccine Initiative. The vision of the ACO is to integrate a national network of researchers, create new opportunities for international collaboration and ensure that Canada is a leading contributor to the global HIV vaccine research effort. The ACO is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
ICID continues its international work in HIV prevention through its ICID-UNICEF Ukraine HIV Prevention Initiative. Drawing upon expertise within Manitoba and working in partnership with UNICEF Ukraine, government agencies, and local NGOs, ICID will be implementing a proven HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care model in two regions in Ukraine. The model seeks to integrate and build program capacity to ensure access to a full range of services for the most at-risk children and youth.
In 2009, ICID in collaboration with the University of Manitoba and Public Health Agency of Canada hosted the International Symposium on Natural Immunity to HIV in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This ground-breaking meeting of international researchers identified the need for the development of an international research consortium with the mandate of advancing research in the area of immunity or resistance to HIV. ICID continues to advocate and drive for expansion of international research and scientific knowledge in this unique area of natural resistance to inform prevention strategies, specifically vaccine effectiveness and development.
ICID has collaborated with the University of Manitoba and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, establishing research teams to understand human natural defense against HIV and how to manipulate these defenses making them more effective. Inclusive in this program is the sharing and cross-training of researchers between the institutions.
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ICID has also partnered with community-based agencies, the public health and academic sectors, and private industry to build common agendas for HIV prevention projects and opportunities. Project management activities have included coordination and facilitation of stakeholder meetings, knowledge exchange forums, funding partnerships, and program submissions for national and international prevention strategy projects.