Ten years ago President Bill Clinton set a national goal to develop an AIDS vaccine within a decade. At that time, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS had infected some 25 million people worldwide. Clinton established a research center at the National Institutes of Health and pledged to enlist other nations in the effort.
“There are no guarantees,” he said in a speech delivered at Morgan State University announcing the initiative. “It will take energy and focus and demand great effort from our greatest minds. But with the strides of recent years, it is no longer a question of whether we can develop an AIDS vaccine, it is simply a question of when.”