Revamped AIDS Web Site Tailored to Diverse Users

Date: November 27, 2002
Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Author: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

AIDSinfo, a Web site offering comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS treatments and clinical trials, will go live on December 2 to mark World AIDS Day. The site at merges two popular information services, the HIV/AIDS Treatment Information Service (ATIS) and the AIDS Clinical Trials Information Service (ACTIS). Catering to the needs of health care providers, researchers, people living with HIV/AIDS and the general public, the combined site provides a single, searchable resource of HIV/AIDS treatment guidelines and information about all federally funded and privately sponsored HIV/AIDS clinical trials.

AIDSinfo retains and improves upon the earlier phone- and Web-based services. By continuing to provide trained specialists who speak English and Spanish, the new service ensures that individuals with or without Web access have an opportunity to receive information on clinical trials and treatment guidelines. The site's developers studied how people search for information on the Web, allowing them to create a site that is more than a simple database. Each page of AIDSinfo gives users opportunities to go beyond their specific queries and discover related material.

The streamlined site is divided into four main areas: guidelines, drugs, clinical trials and vaccines. Current guidelines on such topics as preventing and treating HIV in adults and children; treating and preventing opportunistic infections and other co-infections; and preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV can all be viewed, printed and downloaded into a computer or personal digital assistant, if desired.

In the clinical trials section, users can customize their searches to match their needs. For example, the database may be searched for trials open to different categories of volunteers, such as those newly infected or those in whom previous therapy has failed. The database also can be searched by location of the trial and by the specific products being tested. AIDSinfo offers extensive information on FDA-approved therapies for HIV/AIDS and opportunistic infections along with an HIV glossary, news releases about HIV/AIDS research efforts and links to further information.

In 1989, ACTIS began providing up-to-date information on HIV/AIDS clinical trials through a toll-free number. Staffed with trained information specialists, the telephone information and referral service provided callers with information about HIV treatment and prevention clinical trials in English or Spanish. The Web site, established later, offered direct access to clinical trials databases and various educational resources. A similar telephone resource for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention guidelines was established soon after. From 1990 until 1995, the clinical trials service alone assisted between 25,000 and 32,000 callers each year. With the advent of the World Wide Web, phone inquiries dropped while the number of requests to the service's Web site soared. In 1999, almost 285,000 Web site hits were recorded.

AIDSinfo is jointly sponsored by several agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including three components of the National Institutes of Health -- the Office of AIDS Research, the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Other contributing agencies included the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; the Health Resources and Services Administration; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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.