Philadelphia-Area Women ‘Can Make Lasting Contribution’ in HIV/AIDS Fight Through Clinical Trial Participation, Opinion Piece Says
The HIV/AIDS pandemic "will never be completely eliminated until an effective vaccine is found," and women in the Philadelphia region "who are most at risk of HIV infection can make a lasting contribution in this important fight" by participating in an HIV vaccine clinical trial, Mitchell Warren, executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition; David Metzger, the principal investigator for the University of Pennsylvania HIV Vaccine Trial Unit; and Lora Pearson, a respresentative of the HIV Vaccine Trial Unit's Global Community Advisory Board, write in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece. Organizers of the trial plan to have 1,500 men and women in 13 U.S. cities and six foreign countries volunteer to take part in the clinical trial of the vaccine, according to the authors. The vaccine, which uses a "weakened" adenovirus to transport synthetically produced HIV genes into human cells, is designed to illicit a cellular immune response that could prevent HIV infection or lower HIV viral loads in people who already are HIV-positive, the authors write. It is "impossible" for volunteers to become HIV-positive by taking the vaccine, the opinion piece says, adding that safety is the "principal concern" of researchers conducting the trial. "Women in the Philadelphia region have the power to protect themselves by avoiding risky behavior and engaging only in safer sex practices," the authors write, concluding, "Now, they can also roll up their sleeves to help discover an HIV/AIDS vaccine that could ultimately end this epidemic. They deserve our respect, and they need our support" (Warren et al., Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.