Community groups play key role in increasing HIV research participation

Paula Frew, PhD, MPH

Although African Americans make up a significant share of HIV cases in the U.S., they are underrepresented in HIV clinical trials. New research shows that promotion of HIV clinical trials and participation by African Americans can be increased by coalitions that link community organizations to clinical-research institutions.

“Community organizations already have built trusting relationships in their communities,” says Paula Frew, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Emory School of Medicine. “If HIV/AIDS prevention and HIV clinical research become part of the agendas of these organizations, they can become ideal allies for increasing participation by community members who are at risk for disease.”

Frew was lead investigator in a study published recently in the Journal Prevention Science. She is director of health communications & applied research at the Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center and an investigator in the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).

Although condoms and behavioral changes promoted in communities can help stem the HIV epidemic, says Frew, an HIV vaccine, microbicide, or new antiretroviral prophylactic drugs also are greatly needed, and these require clinical research.

Participants in clinical trials need positive attitudes toward HIV vaccine research and health research in general, a perception of social support for their participation, engagement with the issue of HIV/AIDS, and perceived relevance of the clinical research organization.

Even though positive messages about HIV vaccine research can be delivered by family, friends, coworkers, pastors, and significant others, the researchers found that it is more effective to mobilize participants through formal networks of established and respected community agencies.

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Holly Korschun

Director, Research Communications hkorsch@emory.edu 404-727-3990 Office 404-686-5500 Pager (ID 14501) 404-227-1243 Mobile

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