How can I participate in a clinical trial?
I have recently been diagnosed HIV-positive and I am happy to volunteer for therapy/drug trials. How do I go about this? I am 48 years old and currently healthy.
The best starting point is your hospital. Usually the hospitals in the larger cities have ongoing HIV clinical trials. You simply need to ask your doctor whether they have one in yours. If they don’t, nothing stops you from participating in a trial in a different hospital. This may require, however, travelling to a larger hospital (if you are not already with one). Again, your doctor should be able to help you with that.
Another good source of information is the Medical Research Council. They are the responsible body for conducting trials in the UK. You can contact them via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
An overview of three ongoing studies is at this link. If your CD4 count is over 500 cells/mms then the SMART study would be a good one to consider. This is likely to be one of the most important international studies for the next 5 years.
If your clinic is not a site for these studies, you can still usually join and your hospital can help arrange this.
To understand better the nature of clinical trials, you may decide to take a look at the i-Base Manual for treatment advocates and in particular the chapter on Clinical trials.
From a regulatory perspective, the best source of information is the MHRA (the UK regulator) site.