Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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What is the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN)?
The HVTN is an international collaboration of scientists and institutions whose goal is to accelerate the search for an HIV vaccine by sharing trial results and facilitating parallel, concurrent testing. The HVTN is a unique hybrid that combines the depth and diversity of the academic community and the flexibility of a commercial drug company. The HVTN is composed of more than two dozen research institutions worldwide, coordinated from its headquarters at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.
When and why was it established?
The HVTN was formed in 1999 by the Division of AIDS of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), when the federal government reorganized its HIV vaccine research effort. The creation of the HVTN consolidated NIAID's long-standing research program, which until 1999 was carried out by two distinct groups: the U.S.-based AIDS Vaccine Evaluation Group (AVEG), focused on early-stage testing of vaccine candidates, and the HIV Network for Prevention Trials (HIVNET), focused on domestic and international trials of HIV vaccines and other prevention strategies. The mission of the HVTN is to test preventive HIV vaccines.
What is involved in volunteering for HIV vaccine trials?
Click here for questions and answers regarding HIV vaccine trial volunteers.
How many products does the HVTN have in trials right now?
The HVTN currently has experimental vaccines in trials in the United States, the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Asia. For detailed information on our experimental vaccines, visit the Pipeline Project.
What is the next step after the current trials are completed?
If current testing of these vaccine candidates yields promising results, the Network will need over 10,000 volunteers in the Western Hemisphere for effectiveness trials beginning in 2005.
Where does the HVTN have trial sites?
Africa - Botswana, Malawi, Republic of South Africa
Asia - China, India, Thailand
Caribbean - Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago
South America - Brazil, Peru
United States - Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Nashville, New York City, Providence, Rochester, San Francisco, St. Louis, Seattle.
For exact locations of our trial sites, check out our Global Trial Sites section.
How is the HVTN managed?
The HVTN is an investigator-driven network, meaning that the principal investigator at each member institution plays an important leadership role. The network is governed by a leadership group and is headed by Dr. Larry Corey and Dr. Judy Wasserheit, both of whom are based at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. Beyond the Core/Science Operations Center, the HVTN leadership group consists of the Statistical and Data Management Center and the Laboratory Program, which includes Duke University, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the California State Health Department Laboratory and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases in South Africa.
How do HVTN trial sites involve the community in planning trials?
Preparing and educating the community about HIV vaccine trials is a central activity of the HVTN. Community Educators and Community Advisory Boards at each trial site help people understand the science of HIV/AIDS and vaccines, as well as research methods and clinical trial processes. Building strong relationships and a sense of trust between the HVTN researchers and the community is crucial to the success of the HVTN. If you are interested in talking with a Community Educator or Community Advisory Board member, contact the HVTN site nearest you.
How is the HVTN funded?
The HVTN is funded by the U.S. federal budget, through appropriations to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
Is all of the research undertaken within the Network funded by the
US government or is there privately funded research as well?
HIV vaccine research conducted by HVTN member institutions is funded by public and private sources. Collaborators also participate in the cost of conducting actual trials. This includes academic research institutions, foundations, vaccine inventors, and other government agencies.
Why has the search for an HIV vaccine taken so long?
The more scientists learn about HIV and its behavior, the more complicated the search for a vaccine becomes. The HTVN is founded on the belief that this challenging process can be accelerated by working together, sharing results and using global trial capacity to run coordinated, parallel trials of vaccine candidates.
Realistically, how soon will a vaccine against HIV/AIDS be available?
Recently, there have been promising breakthroughs in research on vaccines that reduce viral load, thereby decreasing chances of transmission from someone who is HIV positive to someone who is not. A preventative HIV vaccine, however, may still be years away. Each trial is designed to answer key scientific questions on the road to an HIV vaccine by testing the most promising candidates. It may take several trials and a combination of the best vaccine products to protect against HIV infection, control HIV viral replication, or make HIV transmission to a partner impossible.
How is the Network organizing research into the many different
strains of HIV around the world?
The HVTN is composed of 25 research institutions on four continents (Africa, Asia, North America and South America), giving it a unique ability to test vaccines on geographically diverse strains of HIV. The HVTN has the technical ability and the community relationships to conduct trials across the globe.
Who participates in HIV vaccine trials?
A wide range of healthy adults who are HIV-negative participate in vaccine trials.
Where can I learn more about the latest in HIV vaccine research?
The HVTN is a resource for HIV vaccine news. Explore the Press section for published articles and the Resources page for links to other organizations involved in HIV vaccine research.

For Volunteers:
Thinking about volunteering for a vaccine trial? Click here for questions and answers.