HIV Vaccine Trial Participation Might Lead To Negative Social Consequences

Armen Hareyan's picture

HIV vaccinetrial volunteers could experience negative social consequences because of theirparticipation in the trials, according to a study published in the Nov. 1 issueof the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, Reuters Health reports.

For the study, Jonathan Fuchs of the San FranciscoDepartment of Public Health and colleagues evaluated the negative social effects reported by 5,417people who participated in HIV vaccine clinical trials. Nearly 1,000 volunteersreported negative social events -- including negative reactions from friends,family and partners -- during a 36-month follow-up period, the study found. Thestudy authors attributed the negative reaction to a misunderstanding of thevolunteers' HIV status or risk of contracting the virus, Reuters Health reports.


Less than 1% of the participants reported problems with disability or lifeinsurance, employment, medical or dental care, insurance, government agenciesor housing, according to the study. The study also found that 12 of the 368participants who contracted HIV after the trial reported at least one negativesocial event, mostly involving family or friends who believed the experimentalvaccine caused the trial participant to become HIV-positive or more susceptibleto the virus. Twenty-nine volunteers reported negative social events related toHIV antibodies, although the researchers attributed the events tovaccine-induced antibody results.

Fuchs said that health care providers should ask whether patients "haveparticipated in an HIV vaccine trial before they perform HIV testing, to avoid potential misinterpretation of antibodyresults and possible social harm." In an effort to minimize negativesocial effects, the researchers recommended that trial sites "continuetheir educational efforts with both study participants and with localcommunities" and emphasize that people cannot contract HIV "from thevaccine itself and that these trials seek HIV-negative individuals"(Boggs, Reuters Health, 11/29).

Reprintedwith permission from You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reportis published for, a free service of The Henry J. KaiserFamily Foundation.