Experiences in recruiting volunteers through community based initiatives in Phase-1 vaccine trials in India

Shay, S.; Makesh Kumar, M.; Srikrishnan, A.K.; Ramanathan, V.D.; Mehendale, S.

Human Vaccine & Immunotherapeutics; 2014; 10; 485-491.


Abstract: Success of HIV vaccine trials is dependent on infrastructural preparedness of the site, technical expertise of the trial team and strong Socio-political support of the local community. The processes followed and experiences gained while implementing various community based initiatives for recruitment of healthy volunteers during the three HIV vaccine trials in India are described. Major initiatives in community engagement implemented for the first time in India included establishment and involvement of Community Advisory Board and capacity building and engagement of lay community based volunteers called “peers” using “lay health promotion” model. Community education program designed for trial participants' education, identification and enrollment was a three-tiered approach, moving from large community awareness meetings (first step) to facility-based small group meeting to provide trial specific information (second step); ending with one-to-one vaccine center based meeting with the volunteers to clear doubts, myths, and misconceptions about HIV/ AIDS, the experimental vaccine and HIV vaccine trials as well as to explain trial specific procedures (third step). It is important to focus on gender issues, locally relevant socio-cultural factors, informed consent, and post-trial care related matters during the conduct of sensitive clinical trials in socio-culturally diverse and resource limited setting like India.


Keywords: Autonomy; Community Advisory Board; community engagement; gender issues; Phase 1 HIV vaccine trial; peer; recruitment; trial participation; volunteers




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