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October 30, 2002


Photography Exhibit At Fernbank Focuses On Quest For AIDS Vaccine

The Hope for Humanity: The Quest For An AIDS Vaccine exhibit is being organized by the Hope Clinic in collaboration with Humanitarian Endeavors and the Fernbank Science Center. The exhibit, featuring the photographs of Andrew Petkun and educational science displays about vaccines, runs from November 4, 2002 – January 31, 2003 at the Fernbank Science Center.

Over the past 20 years, HIV infection has emerged as one of the most devastating diseases in history. Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 60 million people have been infected with HIV and more than 20 million have died. By the end of last year, more than 40 million adults and children were living with HIV infection and more than 15,000 were being infected each day.

Vaccines are among the greatest advances in modern medicine. Thanks to their development and cost-effectiveness, crippling diseases like polio are rapidly becoming footnotes in history. Despite this, millions of people worldwide are still plagued by other infectious diseases that have proven difficult to contain. Dedicated researchers at the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center are working hard to develop vaccines that may ultimately eliminate these threats.

"Development of a safe, effective and affordable HIV vaccine represents the most promising strategy for slowing and ultimately ending the AIDS pandemic," says Mark Feinberg, MD, PhD, medical director of the Hope Clinic. "Although we all realize that attainment of a successful AIDS vaccine will likely require years of hard work and research innovation, we at the Hope Clinic, along with all of our colleagues at the Emory Vaccine Center, are completely committed to hastening the day when such a vaccine is available. This effort, we hope, will one day lead to world without AIDS".

This exhibit features the work of Andrew Petkun. "His pictures of people living with HIV/AIDS show their common humanity and make us more aware of the personal and social hardship this epidemic has had on families, on communities, and on nations," Dr. Feinberg says. Petkun's photographs have a personal quality and focuses attention on the individual lives too often hidden by the statistics. His work has brought acclaim from international officials, human rights activists, and academic leaders. His photographs have been exhibited in places such as the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama, the World Bank in Washington, D.C., at several American embassies in Africa, and have been honored by the Global Health Council.

Dr. Mac Sudduth, director of the Fernbank Science Center says, "We're proud to be associated with Emory, an institution on the biomedical leading edge. Fernbank is devoted to furthering the public's knowledge of science. We function as an interface, communicating current knowledge to school children, teachers and adults. It's our hope that awareness of new developments will lead to general appreciation of the work of the Emory Vaccine Research Center and the Hope Clinic. Knowledge is the first tool in fighting AIDS."

Hope for Humanity is open to the public free of charge. For further information on exhibition viewing hours, call the Fernbank Science Center at (404) 378-4311.

The Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Research Center is specifically devoted to clinical trials of promising new vaccines and therapeutic interventions. Investigators at the Clinic translate basic research findings into useful clinical advances in preventing and treating some of the world's most challenging infectious diseases. The Clinic was created through the combined efforts of the Emory University School of Medicine, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and the Emory Center for AIDS Research.

Fernbank Science Center, an agency of the DeKalb County School System, is a classroom and woodland complex located near Emory University. It features a planetarium, an observatory, and a 65-acre forest. The Center also operates teaching laboratories and a research library. The circular exhibit hall houses a variety of natural and physical science displays.

Humanitarian Endeavors is the organization of photojournalist Andrew Petkun. Petkun takes pictures of people living with HIV/AIDS in order to capture their common humanity, and increase awareness and support to fight the disease.

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