|THE CHANGING FACE OF AIDS
The fight against AIDS shifts to the developing nations.
July 17, 1998
in this forum:
Are we using the third world as guinea pigs? What is the status of vaccine research? Will funding for a vaccine limit ressearch into drug treatments? Do drug-resistant AIDS viruses mean that drug treatments will become obsolete? Has a drop in public attention hurt the fight against AIDS? David Croyden of Annapolis, MD asks: It is my understanding that new vaccines are most likely to be tested in the third world. I know this is where the disease is spreading most quickly, but aren't there ethical concerns about using the third world as guinea pigs for the developed world.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responds:This issue has been the source of much discussion in recent months and is certainly a critical consideration in moving forward with large- scale vaccine studies.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has overseen the development of a new set of ethical guidelines, designed to protect the rights of participants in international HIV vaccine trials.
These guidelines reinforce the importance of obtaining individual informed consent from all trial participants. The guidelines also address important ethical issues such as appropriate standards of counseling and other HIV preventative measures for participants, and the provision of treatment and care to participants who may become infected with HIV while enrolled in the trial.
A central conclusion of the guidelines is that countries taking part in the trials should be among the first to benefit from the availability of a vaccine.
More information is available on the WWW at: http://www.unaids.org/highband/press/gvavacpr.html