NIH Researchers Experiencing Difficulty Recruiting HIV Vaccine Volunteers, NPR Reports
NPR's "All Things Considered" on Saturday examined the difficulty that NIH scientists are experiencing in recruiting volunteers who are willing to be inoculated with an experimental HIV vaccine. NIH recruiter Margaret McCluskey said that the primary reason she thinks people are not signing up for the study is because they fear becoming infected with HIV; however, she said that there is "no chance whatever of getting HIV from a vaccine." In addition, McCluskey said that people have the perception that "HIV is just not as big a problem as it used to be," but she added that this perception is "dead wrong." She said that HIV is "worse than it's ever been, and there's no end in sight." The scientists also are not attracting volunteers who represent those who are most affected by HIV, such as women and minorities, because of a "historical mistrust" of government research, NPR reports. Vaccine Research Center Director Gary Nabel said that tens of thousands of volunteers will be needed in the future to test HIV vaccines, with trials beginning throughout the world in a few years (Palca, "All Things Considered," NPR, 6/21). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer. Expanded NPR coverage of the story is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.