Where is Mali? How big is it? What is the population? 

Mali is in the interior of Western Africa. It is roughly twice the size of Texas with a population of 14.85 million. 50% of the Malian population live below the poverty line. 

What is HIV?

HIV stands for “human immunodeficiency virus”.  It is the virus that causes AIDS.  This viruses is transmitted from one person to another when HIV-infected blood, semen or vaginal secretions come into contact with another persons’ broken skin or mucous membranes.  HIV-infected pregnant women can also pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, delivery and through breast milk.

What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for “acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.”  It is an immunodeficiency syndrome, meaning that the immune system of a person with AIDS is weakened.  AIDS is caused by HIV.

Is there a cure for HIV?

No.  There is no cure for HIV/AIDS.  However, there are antiretroviral medications that can slow the progression of HIV.  There are also medications that can cure many of the illnesses associated with AIDS, though the treatments do not cure AIDS itself.

How long will it be until we have an HIV vaccine?

The development of an HIV vaccine depends on several factors.  All vaccines must complete animal trials and three phases of human clinical trials before applying for approval by the Food and Drug Administration.  GAIA VF is currently testing its’ HIV vaccine in transgenic mice.  

How many HIV vaccines are currently being produced?

There are over 20 HIV vaccines in production.  However, all of these vaccine candidates are directed primarily toward the developed world.  Additionally, these HIV vaccines will be prohibitively expensive for the developing world.

What is the percentage of people infected with HIV/AIDS in Mali.

A little under 2% of people in Mali are infected (compared with a .6% in the United States). 

What is HPV?

HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus and is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It is passed on through genital contact. Some people who have it are unaware they contracted it because some strains do not lead to symptoms. However, certain strains of HPV can lead to a huge increased risk of cervical cancer which is a very serious disease. 

Does Mali have high rates of HPV?

In Mali 12% of women have one of the high-risk HPV strains. Because HPV rates are so high, 37.7 cases out of 100,000 have cervical cancer (which is the second highest rate in the sixteen West African countries). 

What can we do?

Luckily, there is a HPV vaccine. By increasing knowledge and acceptance of the vaccine as well as giving out the vaccine we can reduce the levels of HPV in Mali.