In an effort to reduce the worldwide spread of HIV, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) created the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), a global network of clinical trial sites that explores non-vaccine prevention strategies to reduce HIV transmission. The new network will test and develop both biomedical and behavioral intervention programs. Because HIV is transmitted via different routes in different populations, developing a variety of HIV prevention strategies will have a significant impact on reducing transmission rates and slowing the spread of HIV worldwide.
In addition to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), other NIH Institutes co-sponsoring the HPTN include the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the National Institute on Drug Abuse; and the National Institute of Mental Health.
The HPTN evolved from NIAID's HIV Network for Prevention Trials (HIVNET) program, which conducted Phase I, II and III clinical trials at U.S. and international sites. The HPTN will continue to expand the multidisciplinary research agenda established by the HIVNET as well as build on the HIVNET's many accomplishments. These accomplishments include the discovery of nevirapine as an effective, affordable drug used to prevent mother-to-infant HIV transmission in developing countries, and the establishment of the initial safety and acceptability of two new non-detergent microbicides.
Research through the HPTN is carried out through HIV Prevention Trials Units (HPTUs) located at 15 sites in the United States and 14 sites overseas in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. The HPTN scientific agenda is divided into six main areas of research, each carried out by specialized Science Working Groups (SWGs):
· Microbicide SWG - develops and tests topical antimicrobial agents, such as creams, gels and foams, that could be applied vaginally or rectally to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV.
· Perinatal SWG - evaluates a variety of strategies, such as antiviral drugs, antibiotics and therapeutic vaccines, that would lower viral load to reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
· Antiretroviral Therapy SWG - evaluates the impact of antiretroviral therapies in reducing the infectiousness of HIV-infected individuals.
· STD Control SWG - evaluates programs to control or reduce STD infections as a means of decreasing the risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV infection.
· Behavioral SWG - develops and tests new behavioral interventions, such as community education and counseling, to help people reduce their risk of exposure to HIV.
· Substance Use SWG - studies the effect of interventions to reduce injection and non-injection drug use, and alcohol and other substance use, as a means of slowing the spread of HIV through shared needles and sexual intercourse.
In developing its scientific agenda, the HPTN includes community members who participate in the discussion of important issues, such as study design, recruitment plans, incentives for trial volunteers, informed consent, risk-reduction interventions and dissemination of research findings. HPTN investigators involve their local communities to promote the exchange of information and ideas, and to ensure that social, cultural and political values are respected in each community where research is conducted.
The HPTN comprises a Coordinating and Operations Center at Family Health International in Durham, NC (Dr. Ward Cates, principal investigator), which manages the scientific aspects of the network from study design and development to analyses; a Statistical and Data Management Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington in Seattle, WA (Dr. Thomas Fleming, principal investigator), which manages the HPTN databases and guides protocol teams on the statistical components of study design and analyses of study data; and a Central Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD (Dr. Brooks Jackson, principal investigator), which collects, tests and reports results from biologic samples and identifies new technologies to advance the scientific agenda of the network.
The domestic and international clinical sites and their principal investigators are listed below.
· University of Alabama at Birmingham - Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D.
· Los Angeles County Department of Health - Peter Kerndt, M.D., M.P.H. · University of California Los Angeles - Yvonne J. Bryson, M.D. · University of California San Francisco - Tsungai Chipato, MBChB
· Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore - Robert C. Bollinger, M.D., M.P.H. · Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore - David Celentano, Sc.D., M.P.H. · Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore - Laura Guay, M.D. · Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore - J. Brooks Jackson, M.D., M.B.A. · Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore - Taha E. Taha, M.D., Ph.D.
· Fenway Community Health, Boston - Kenneth H. Mayer, M.D. · Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston - Wafaie Fawzi, M.D., Dr.P.H.
· Columbia University Health Sciences, New York - Wafaa El-Sadr, M.D., M.P.H.
· University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill - Robert Ryder, M.D.
· University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia - David Metzger, Ph.D.
· Harborview Medical Center, Seattle - Connie Celum, M.D., M.P.H.
· Malawi College of Medicine, Blantyre - George Liomba, M.D.
· South African Medical Research Council, Durban - Gita Ramjee, M.D.
· Muhimbili University, College of Health Sciences, Dar Es Salaam - Gernard Msamanga, M.D., D.Sc.
· Makerere University School of Medicine, Kampala - Francis Mmiro, MBChB · Makerere University School of Medicine, Kampala - Nelson Sewankambo, M.D.
· Lusaka District Health Board and University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka - Moses Sinkala, M.D./Chewe Lou, M.D., M.Sc.
· University of Zimbabwe, Harare - Tsungai Chipato, MBChB
· National Center for AIDS Prevention and Control, Beijing - Yiming Shao, M.D., Ph.D.
· IHI/YRG Care, Chennai - Suniti Solomon, M.D. · National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), Pune - Sanjay M. Mehendale, M.D., MBBS, M.P.H.
· Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai - Chirasak Khamboonruang, M.D., Ph.D.
· St. Petersburg State University - Andrei Kozlov, Ph.D.
· Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janiero - Francisco Inacio Bastos, M.D. Peru · Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima - Jorge Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H.
NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat infectious and immune-mediated illnesses, including HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, illness from potential agents of bioterrorism, tuberculosis, malaria, autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies.
Press releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.