Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Paid To Be Positive - HIV+

Would you consider being a human guinea-pig for a new HIV/AIDS prevention strategy if it meant you may contract HIV in the process?

This is exactly what a number of women did during a recent clinical trial of a gel which was supposed to prevent transmission of the virus.The full story may be found here.

6202 women participated in the study between March 2004 and March 2007. During this time the rate of infection was 3.3 new infections per 100 women. The participants in the study were given HIV education and counselling, gynaecological exams and testing and treatment for curable sexually transmitted infections.

Women who were HIV-positive at screening or who became HIV positive during the trial were given medical and psychological assistance.

I wonder what these women were paid to participate in this study - a study that for 200 of them translated to an HIV-positive reality. Was it worth it? I suppose if the gel had been effective they would have been hailed as heroes of the fight against AIDS. However they are now just statistics in the HIV/AIDS pandemic in our country. Are they still heroes or just foolish people looking for quick money at a high risk?

I realise this is a controversial topic and I invite you to leave a comment and get the debate started...