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HIV Vaccine Trials
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HIV Vaccine Trials - Miriam Hospital

Frank Maher of Providence is young, healthy and is doing his part to find a vaccine for HIV by participating in a trial at Miriam Hospital.  The hospital is one of 28 sites worldwide in the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. He's doing it despite the stigma that is often associated with this disease. In fact he literally wears his pride for this cause out in the open, "If someone didn't participate in those studies in the 50's, there'd be thousands of people, from polio, who would've died, so this just happens to be the disease of my choice that I'm trying to work with."

But Frank is not in the majority.  Miriam Hospital's HIV Vaccine Trials Director Dr. Michelle Lally says, "People hear HIV and they say 'that's not me. That has nothing to do with me because I don't have HIV or maybe I don't know anyone who has HIV.'"

There are also several myths surrounding these HIVv vaccine trials and for the last 10 years, Miriam Hospital has been working to clear up the truth.  Dr. Lally says, "People who are afraid that they can get HIV from an HIV vaccine, there's absolutely no way." 

Many people also believe you have to be HIV-positive or engage in risky behavior to participate. Researchers say it's the opposite. Right now, in Phase I studies, like the one Frank is participating in, they need healthy people who are at low-risk for contracting HIV. As for safety, Frank says he, like many others, have had no major side effects from the injections, "The study's simple, it's easy, it's painless and if the results are what they hope to be within the next 7 to 10 years then it's fantastic and it's worth every minute."

To find out more about the several HIV vaccine trials going on at the Miriam you can call: 1-866-STOP-HIV.

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