SOURCE: GeoVax, Inc.

GeoVax, Inc.

February 05, 2016 09:00 ET

GeoVax Recognizes National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Bringing Attention to Minority Health Disparities in HIV/AIDS and the Need for a Vaccine

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwired - Feb 5, 2016) - GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVX). On Sunday, February 7, individuals and organizations across the country will observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2016. GeoVax plans to commemorate the day by celebrating the progress made toward the development of a vaccine against HIV, recognizing the work yet to be done, and bringing attention to the continued HIV epidemic in the United States and the disproportionate impact of the disease on African Americans.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), first observed in 1999, is a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted at African Americans in the United States. NBHAAD was founded as a national response to the growing HIV and AIDS epidemic in African American communities. The NBHAAD initiative encourages people to: Get Educated about HIV and AIDS; Get Involved in community prevention efforts; Get Tested to know their status; and Get Treated to receive the continuum of care needed to live with HIV/AIDS. The 2016 theme for NBHAAD is "I am my Brother/Sister's Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS." More information about NBHAAD can be found at http://nationalblackaidsday.org/.

On this NBHAAD, GeoVax wants to bring attention to the following statistics related to HIV in the United States.

U.S. Incidence
More than 1.2 million persons aged 13 years and older in the United States are infected with HIV.

HIV incidence of new infections is about 50,000 per year. This has remained virtually unchanged for the past 20 years.

Almost 1 in 8 (12.8%) infected individuals are unaware of their infection, and over 50% of youth (aged 13-24) do not know they are infected.

Youth make up 17% of the US population, but account for an estimated 26% of all new HIV infections in the United States.

Young gay and bisexual men account for 72% of new HIV infections among youth. This age group is showing an alarming increase in new infections.

Of the 1.2 million persons living with HIV in the U.S. in 2009, it has been estimated that 82% were diagnosed, 66% were linked to care, 37% were retained in care, 33% were prescribed antiretroviral therapy, and only 25% had a suppressed viral load.

Minority Health Disparities
African Americans represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, but account for 44% of new HIV infections and 41% of people living with HIV.

African American youth account for an estimated 57% of new HIV infections among youth in the U.S., followed by Hispanic/Latino (20%) and white (20%) youth.

U.S. Taxpayer Cost Burden
The lifetime medical cost savings from preventing one HIV infection is estimated to be $326,500, 75% of which is for antiviral and other medications.

U.S. government spending for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment is spread across multiple federal agencies, including Medicare, Medicaid, the Ryan White Program, and Social Security Disability Insurance. Total domestic spending in the FY 2015 budget for these programs (excluding research of new drugs/vaccines) is a staggering $20.8 billion.

GeoVax celebrates the tremendous strides made in HIV awareness and treatment over the past three decades. But despite the availability of effective HIV medications and the best efforts of community education and prevention efforts, the tide of new HIV infections has not been reversed. It has remained virtually unchanged in the U.S. for 20 years. And the disproportionate burden on the African American community has not abated.

Much like the polio and smallpox eradication efforts, it will take a vaccine to eradicate HIV, and that remains the primary mission for our company. GeoVax has the leading HIV vaccine candidate designed to function against the subtype of HIV prevalent in the United States. Our vaccine has undergone more than 20 years of development, encompassing basic discovery research, preclinical animal testing, and safety testing in humans. It is ready for pivotal clinical trials.

We have a great sense of urgency to our mission, and on this National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, all of us at GeoVax remember those who have succumbed to HIV/AIDS, and we re-dedicate ourselves toward the goal of an AIDS-free generation.

About GeoVax

GeoVax Labs, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases using its Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara - Virus-Like Particle (MVA-VLP) vaccine platform. The Company's most advanced development programs are focused on vaccines against HIV and hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Marburg, Lassa). GeoVax also recently began programs to develop a vaccine against the Zika virus, and to evaluate the use of its MVA-VLP platform in cancer immunotherapy. GeoVax's vaccine platform supports in vivo production of non-infectious VLPs from the cells of the very person receiving the vaccine. The production of VLPs in the person being vaccinated mimics a natural infection, stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection. 

Clinical trials for GeoVax's preventive HIV vaccines have been conducted by the NIH-supported HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) with funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). Overall, GeoVax's HIV vaccines, in various doses and combinations, have been tested in 500 humans with very encouraging results. Currently GeoVax has the most advanced vaccine for the subtype of HIV prevalent in North America and Western Europe. The company awaits funding for a Phase 2b efficacy trial to prove the vaccine protects against HIV. For more information, visit www.geovax.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this document are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from those included in these statements due to a variety of factors, including whether: GeoVax can develop and manufacture its vaccines with the desired characteristics in a timely manner, GeoVax's vaccines will be safe for human use, GeoVax's vaccines will effectively prevent HIV or Ebola infection in humans, vaccines will receive regulatory approvals necessary to be licensed and marketed, GeoVax raises required capital to complete vaccine development, there is development of competitive products that may be more effective or easier to use than GeoVax's products, GeoVax will be able to enter into favorable manufacturing and distribution agreements, and other factors, over which GeoVax has no control. GeoVax assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, and does not intend to do so. More information about these factors is contained in GeoVax's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including those set forth at "Risk Factors" in GeoVax's Form 10-K.

Contact Information