Bill of Rights And Responsibilities (BRR) For HIV Research

The Participants’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities was originally written in English in 2003. It was revised in 2007 and again in 2020. It has been translated into several languages, as listed below. If you decide to participate in an HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) study, you will be given a copy of this document in one of these languages, depending on your preference. The wording of the document that you receive may be slightly different from the wording below.

The Participants' Bill of Rights and Responbilities are available in the following languages:

Participant Rights

As a participant in an HVTN HIV/AIDS-related research study, you have the right to:

  • Have all known information, including potential risks and benefits of study participation, presented to you in a way you can understand. You will be told about any new information learned during the course of the study. 
  • Have all questions answered. 
  • Refuse to join the study or decide to leave the study at any time. You can also refuse to join any follow-up studies you are told about. You will not lose any of the rights referred to in this document if you refuse to join the study or leave the study.
  • A discrimination-free study environment. Your personal choices, values, beliefs, and cultural context will be respected by the people running the study.
  • Referral to available counseling, support, medical, and treatment services for illnesses you suffer during the study, including HIV.
  • Assistance resolving study-related social problems and/or discrimination. With your permission, we can talk to the people you ask us to contact to explain more about your participation in the study.
  • Treatment for physical injuries, should they occur, for any injury more likely to be related to study products or procedures than to any other cause, to the extent described in the study consent form. There are funds to pay for treatment of these injuries. A group that reviews safety issues for the study makes the determination of relatedness. You can have the decision reviewed if you disagree. In some cases, the funds may not be enough to cover full treatment. The groups involved in the study will seek more funds if needed, but cannot guarantee them. Your study staff will provide more information on this issue and will answer any questions you may have or put you in touch with the person most qualified to answer your questions.
  • Free and accurate testing for HIV infection during the study. If, at the end of the study, you have a positive HIV test that is caused by the study product and not by HIV infection, you can receive follow-up testing at the study clinic or through the HVTN’s testing service until the test becomes negative.
  • Assistance in meeting study commitments. A list of the items that are available to you will be provided by your study site. 
  • Confidentiality. Communications and records about you and your participation in the study will be shared only as needed to conduct the study, or as required by law. See your study site’s informed consent form for more information.
  • Be offered a study identification card that shows that you are in the study. This optional card will include the phone number and/or address of a person who can provide additional information.
  • Maintain your legal rights. As a trial participant, you are not waiving any of your rights.
  • Be told whether you received a placebo or an active study product when the study ends, or when medically necessary.
  • Be updated about progression of studies, told when study results may be available, and have study staff share and explain study results.
  • Know if there are costs associated with participation and whether you will be compensated for your participation.

Participant Responsibilities

As a participant in an HVTN HIV/AIDS-related research study, you have the responsibility to:

  • Review and demonstrate an understanding of all the materials given to you, including the informed consent documents. Ask for explanation about any information you do not understand before you agree to participate in the study. You can also ask questions anytime during the study.
  • Make an informed decision about whether to participate in this study after weighing the risks and benefits. It is important to know what the study is about. The staff will assist you in this. If it helps you to make a decision, talk to people you trust and respect about whether joining the study is right for you.
  • Tell study staff as soon as possible if you experience discrimination and/or social harm that you think may be related to your trial participation.
  • Do not give blood or donate organs or other body fluids during the study.
  • Get your HIV testing done only at the study site as long as the study lasts. Talk to the study staff if you have to get tested elsewhere.
  • If you are able to get pregnant, avoid pregnancy during the study by using effective contraception methods. The staff will review effective contraception methods with you.
  • Keep your study appointments. Tell study staff as soon as possible if you need to reschedule an appointment.
  • Treat study staff with respect.
  • Keep confidential the participation of others in the study.
  • Give the study staff complete and accurate study-related information. Tell the study staff about any changes in your contact information or health information.
  • Follow the instructions of the study staff to the best of your ability. Work together with the study staff to maintain your health and safety during the trial.
  • Tell study staff as soon as possible if you are unable to continue or if you decide to stop your study participation.

Study Staff Responsibilities

The HVTN study staff, including the Principal Investigator (PI) at this study clinic, have the responsibility to:

  • Consult the local community on research related issues and ensure the fair representation of participants in the clinical trial. 
  • Be answerable to and receive direction from a research-governing body, such as an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or similar research ethical review committee.
  • Obtain informed consent from participants for all-research related activities or interventions. If there are significant study changes, consent from current participants will be obtained again.
  • Conduct the study in an ethical manner, including protecting the rights, confidentiality and well-being of participants in the research study. At the end of the study, the study staff has the responsibility to inform participants which product they were receiving as well as share research study results with participants and the community. 
  • Provide appropriate referrals for counseling, HIV prevention services, HIV treatment services, and/or psychosocial services if needed during the study. 
  • Respond to all questions and concerns of study participants in a timely manner.
  • Treat study participants with respect.