We need your help! Survey for Help Make History volunteers.


Rosie Belcher, posted on: 11 April 2014 at 12.30

Project: What factors influence the members of ‘help make history’ when deciding whether or not to screen for vaccination trials?

Hello everyone, my name is Rosie and I am medical student at Imperial College. This is my very first blog on the ‘help make history’ website which is very exciting! I am currently working on a project with Professor Sheena McCormack to try and understand what factors influence the members of ‘help make history’ in their decisions to screen for early phase HIV vaccination trials. Ultimately, our main aim is to improve the ‘help make history’ network and the way in which we recruit healthy volunteers for HIV vaccination trials.

To do this I will need your help! Over the next couple of weeks I will be sending you all a questionnaire to fill out, it should only take 10 minutes to complete. I hope to really understand what motivates you, so please take a few moments of your time to complete it. There will also be some questions about your opinions of the ‘help make history’ website and network.  At the end of the questionnaire there will be an option for you to opt in or out of a telephone interview with me. The interview will last no more than 30 minutes and will allow me to cover your answers in more depth. If you choose to opt in I will call you to arrange a time that suits you best.

This is all completely voluntary and all responses will be anonymous.

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Help Make History

Why have we set up this website?

One of the main reasons that clinical trials ‘fail’ is because they don’t recruit as many volunteers as needed before the money runs out or the product being tested expires. We have struggled with almost all the healthy volunteer studies that we have been involved with in UK. 

This may be partly explained by the fact that we are investigating products to prevent HIV, and HIV is an infection that people are scared of. When people get the chance to speak to us, we can usually address their concerns as these invariably arise from misconceptions.

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How you can Help Make History

In 1983 the virus causing HIV was first identified, 2 years after the first patients with AIDS were described in the scientific literature. By 1984 there was a reliable test that, if positive, meant an individual had acquired HIV.  It was already suspected that AIDS was transmitted through body fluids, but having the test helped to confirm this and to create a clearer picture of who was at high risk, and which countries had the highest proportion of positive individuals.

Today, the global burden of HIV is greatest in sub-Saharan Africa and these countries are struggling to deliver treatment and care to an ever increasing number of HIV positive individuals.

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Volunteer Criteria

Who can volunteer? 

Anyone who considers themselves healthy can join the network.

Every trial will have specific criteria that define who can and who can’t take part, and these are in place mainly to ensure the safety of participants. There are a few that apply to all trials in healthy voluinteers.

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