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):
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.
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.