AED wins $2.7m-a-year HIV vaccine research task

WASHINGTON: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has hired the Academy for Educational Development (AED) for an HIV vaccine research education campaign.

WASHINGTON: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has hired the Academy for Educational Development (AED) for an HIV vaccine research education campaign.

The national initiative, geared toward HIV-affected communities, was awarded to the nonprofit after an extensive review. AED partnered with the communications firm GYMR for the pitch and was awarded a five-year contract worth $2.7 million per year by NIAID. AED has also issued an RFP for local partners in the effort, due back on February 16.

The effort's goal will be to build support for HIV vaccine research by increasing knowledge within communities, particularly African Americans and Hispanics, as well as among gay men of all demographic groups.

"The big-picture goal here is that if the NIH were to announce in a year that there is an extremely promising vaccine candidate and it's time to put on trials, we need to be able to create an environment where people would be willing to participate in those trials," said Cornelius Baker, project director and senior communications advisor for AED.

Work has already begun. AED will give funding of up to $35,000 annually to local nonprofit, community-based groups through a subcontract with the agency.

The agency is looking for local organizations within 12 cities and Puerto Rico, and the organizations must have a demonstrated working history in reaching one or more of the target populations. GYMR will provide media outreach assistance for the selected entities, Baker noted.

In addition, AED will provide communications support on HIV Vaccine Awareness Day on May 18, disseminate HIV vaccine research-related information, and work on a related NIAID initiative called "Be the Generation."

Incumbent agency Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide confirmed that it had competed for the new contract.

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