Birmingham News Profiles Minority Recruiting for HIV Vaccine Trials at University of Alabama Clinic
The Birmingham News on Sunday examined the success of the University of Alabama-Birmingham's Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic in enrolling blacks and other minorities in HIV vaccine trials. The clinic -- one of 10 nationwide sites for HIV vaccine testing -- has about 200 people participating in active clinical trials and about half of trial enrollees last year were black. Clinic Co-Director Scott Parker said the UAB clinic has better success than any other site in the country enrolling minorities in the trials, most of which are Phase I clinical trials involving HIV-negative individuals. In an effort to attract minorities, the clinic has enlisted the help of recruiters and volunteers who connect with the black community, launched an advertising campaign aimed at minorities and put into place medical safeguards protecting participants from serious complications, according to the News. Clinic staff also have appeared on radio talk shows aimed at black listeners, and the clinic has set up booths at health fairs and black community celebrations. "We pretty much flooded the market," James Mapson, a recruiter at the clinic who is credited with much of the success in signing up minorities, said, adding, "We took a grassroots approach -- talking to people, getting in their faces." Mapson said he provides potential HIV vaccine trial candidates with prevention and testing information before he tells them of the need for clinical trials to develop a vaccine. The clinic pays $50 per visit to vaccine trial enrollees, and a study can involve up to 15 visits over 18 months. However, Parker said the clinic does not accept volunteers who come in because they need money, adding that they want participants who are committed to fighting HIV/AIDS (Parks, Birmingham News, 6/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.