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Volunteers desperately needed to find HIV vaccine: please help

The HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) is an international collaboration of scientists and educators searching for an effective and safe HIV vaccine. Volunteers are needed in 12 US cities and 14 cities outside of the US to participate in new and on-going vaccine trials, and to provide input and oversight on community advisory boards.

More information below the fold.

This is a big deal for me. I came out in 1983, when AIDS was still being called GRID (Gay-Related Immune Disease) and long before we had knowledge of HIV, much less any effective treatments. I lost an awful lot of friends and mentors in the 80s and into the 90s; I was a Shanti volunteer and I have been doing work as a safer-sex educator since “safer sex” was first defined. I also sero-converted almost two years ago (the result of becoming complacent.) I would like to see a world where HIV has joined polio and smallpox, and I hope you can help.

If you live in or close to any of the cities with vaccine trial units, PLEASE contact your local research site and request to be a vaccine volunteer. Many of the current studies are recruiting only men who have sex with men, but they need a diverse range of ethnicities and ages. Other studies are less restricted and are accepting women and volunteers of any orientation. One trial starting soon in Seattle, San Francisco and Boston is recruiting identical and fraternal twins of any gender and orientation who are between the ages of 18 and 50 (both twins must agree to participate.)

The vaccine trials are supervised by medical professionals for the safety of the participants, and volunteers receive remuneration for their time. Protocols vary but generally require a six to twelve month commitment of about one hour every couple of months. Volunteers may withdraw from a study at any time, for any reason.

All of the trial units in the HVTN have community advisory boards (CABs), which are integral parts of the supervision of the vaccine studies. They are made up of volunteers who provide input on many aspects of the trial protocols; they advocate for the volunteers receiving the test vaccine and assess the impact of the trials on the local community. Participation is open to anyone willing to put in about five to ten hours of volunteer time a month.

As I said, I have been a vaccine test subject. I have also recently joined the community advisory board for the Seattle HVTU. If anyone has any questions, feel free to post them here, or you can request my email address. And again, please consider being a volunteer. Let’s work to create a world without HIV.

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Gregory Gadow

Gregory Gadow