Bioethics Blogs

HIV/AIDS Research: We’ve Learned A Lot, We’ve Come a Long Way, but There is Plenty More To Do

by Rebecca S. Ohnemus, MAA, CRA, Research Officer at University of the Incarnate Word

PRIM&R is pleased to share a post by Rebecca Ohnemus, MAA, CRA, a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2014 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference. The PRIM&R Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who will blog here, on Ampersand, about the conference to give our readers an inside peek of what happened December 4-7 in Baltimore, MD.

Following closely on the heels of World AIDS Day, “Issues Related to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic and the Populations Affected,” a panel at the 2014 AER Conference, was timely, relevant, and emotionally powerful. The panel featured policymakers and advocates alongside members of the research community, some of whom have worked for more than 30 years to develop treatments for HIV/AIDS.

This multi-disciplinary panel reflected an important component of HIV/AIDS research: collaborations between subject communities, advocates, and researchers. However, despite the collaborations that have bolstered HIV/AIDS research, all panelists agreed that there is still a long way to go.

The panelists suggested that the communities should be encouraged to play a larger role in order to help address underlying social and cultural structures issues. Panelist Darrell P. Wheeler, PhD, MPH, urged the research community to take up a “mantle of humanity” as we look at the circumstances of these lives, “there is a reality we don’t like to talk about which places people in these situations.”

Questions from the audience turned the conversation toward two challenges for IRBs:

Should IRBs consider subjects with HIV/AIDS to be a vulnerable population?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.