Aids vaccine charity appoints first comms chief

Amsterdam: The International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), dedicated to speeding up the search for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and Aids, has appointed Hester Kuipers to the newly created role of head of comms.

She joins the charity, now in its tenth year, on 1 March from Elsevier-owned Excerpta Medica Global Communications, where she was programme director.

Kuipers's brief is to increase the profile of IAVI campaigns, including its support of World Aids Day on 1 December.

The world's largest trial of Aids drugs was halted in January after a study by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases found the new antiretroviral drugs doubled patients' risk of death.

Also last month, U2 frontman Bono launched a brand to raise funds for the fight against the disease. 'Red' is backed by Emporio Armani, Converse, Gap and American Express with proceeds of product sales going to Aids programmes for women and children in Africa. The launch was handled by Freud Communications in the UK.

Kuipers joins IAVI as one of the staff involved in her recruitment, operational director Rudi van den Hurk, leaves the organisation to 'pursue other goals'.

Excerpta Medica is expected to hire a replacement for Kuipers within the next month, with general manager Edward Roos assuming her duties in the interim.

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