Use of Animals in AIDS Research

GLAA Adopts Consensus Statement on Use of Animals in AIDS Research

At its meeting on June 25, 1996, in response to a request from ACT UP Washington, GLAA voted to sign on to the following consensus statement that had already been approved by:

ACT UPs East Bay, Golden Gate, Washington, DC
AIDS Action Baltimore, AIDS Action Council
AIDS Community Research Consortium, AIDS Project Los Angeles
AIDS Research Alliance
Americans for Democratic Action
American Medical Students Association
American Psychological Association
AmFar, American Foundation for AIDS Research
Cities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief Association
Critical Path AIDS Project
Healing Alternatives Foundation
Gregory Karg
FDA, Division of Antiviral Drug Research
Cleave Jones, Names Project
Log Cabin Republicans
National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project
NAPWA (National Association of People With AIDS)
National Black Women's Health Project
The National Latino/Latina Lesbian and Gay Organization
PAW Health Group, NYC
Project Inform
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
Treatment Action Group
University of California, San Francisco

CONSENSUS STATEMENT ON THE USE OF LABORATORY ANIMALS IN HIV/AIDS RESEARCH AND TREATMENT

Continuing progress in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and its ultimate cure, will occur largely as the result of advancements in biomedical and behavioral research. The development of procedures and therapies that fight the effects of HIV/AIDS and prolong the lives of those who are infected, and development of vaccines and microbiocides to prevent the transmission of HIV, all depend greatly on the freedom of scientists, researchers and physicians to conduct basic and applied research.

Today, that freedom is under attack. Some animal rights advocates are now vigorously pursuing an agenda that would completely end the use of animals in research - especially in biomedical research. Experts agree that the current level of activity by some animal rights advocates to block or disrupt research that utilizes animals is unprecedented in medical history, and poses an increasing threat to research in AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

Certainly, the members of the HIV/AIDS community support the compassionate treatment of animals. We also demand that humane care of animals be used in all research, including full enforcement of applicable federal, state and local laws. However, one fact is undeniable: the swiftest and most certain route to a cure for HIV/AIDS is intensive research - including the use of laboratory animals - and from that route we will not waver.

We also support, as does the scientific community, the employment of research techniques that reduce or replace the need for animal testing whenever possible. But, for much of the HIV/AIDS reset conducted today, the use of animals is absolutely critical. We believe that animal studies are a necessary complement to clinical studies in humans. In fact, every drug presently employed to treat HIV-infection and the opportunistic infections that kill most people with HIV were due developed using animals. Many other compounds, which seemed extremely promising in computer models and in vitro, were proved to be extremely toxic in animal models. Finally the animal model was essential in the development of PMPA which prevents Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) infections in macaque monkeys when administered days after exposure, and also prevents vaginal SIV infection when administered in microbiocide form. This research has provided invaluable leads on the paths to a vaccine and a female-controlled preventative regimen.

Therefore, for the foreseeable future, animal research is essential to progress in the study, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, including the development of new approaches that may ultimately lead to a cure.

Every day, millions of people with HIV/AIDS, here and around the world, hope that basic advances in scientific research will save their lives. We will fight with all of our resolve to ensure that this day comes as soon as possible. And that requires the continuing access to all the necessary constituents of biomedical and behavioral research including animal testing.

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