NIH AIDS Study’s Pittsburgh Site Seeking More African-American Male Volunteers
The Pitt Men's Study, part of NIH's Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, is seeking to enroll new volunteers, particularly African-American men, to "better reflect the AIDS epidemic," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Participants, who are checked twice a year for viral hepatitis, anemia, sexually transmitted diseases and prostate and colon cancer, do not have to be gay or bisexual to enroll. Any men who are at risk of HIV infection because of unprotected sex, or because of intravenous drug use are eligible. The study seeks to enroll as many as 450 additional men, 25% of whom researchers hope will be African-American, during the year-long recruitment campaign. Only about 8% of the 450 men currently enrolled are African-American, compared to 12% of Allegheny County's population. "Until recently, AIDS was considered a white man's disease, so there was little interest on the part of African Americans in participating in a research study devoted to it," Anthony Silvestre, the recruitment coordinator for the study, said. Stephen Thomas, director of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Minority Health, said that the African-American community has been "alienated" in part by theories that AIDS originated in Africa and was spread through "unusual sexual practices." Others in the community think HIV was created to "target black people," while many African Americans remain skeptical of government-sponsored research projects because of the Tuskegee syphilis study (Srikameswaran, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/6). From 1932 until 1972, researchers studied 600 black Alabaman men with syphilis, many of whom were not aware they had the disease, and did not provide the participants with medication (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/11). "[It's] time to turn the corner on this legacy and to move beyond the shadow of Tuskegee and actively encourage African Americans to join clinical research studies," Thomas added (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.