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Vanderbilt University Medical Center: For Employees, Researchers, and Students

Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program to Enroll its 1,000th Volunteer Today

April 13, 2010

MEDIA ADVISORY: Vanderbilt’s 22-year-old HIV vaccine program will enroll its 1,000th volunteer today.

WHO: The volunteer is available to be interviewed and photographed while being enrolled in a study of a potential HIV vaccine. Video may be made of the volunteer at check-in, getting vital signs and having blood drawn, but no video or photos can be made of the volunteer receiving the candidate HIV vaccine.

WHEN: 11 a.m. today, April 13. Please arrive no later than 10:45 a.m.

WHERE: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Clinical Research Center, Room A-2200, Medical Center North

BACKGROUND: Vanderbilt’s HIV Vaccine Program is one of the busiest in the country. Volunteers are paid for their time, but Kyle Rybczyk, M.S.N., the program’s clinic coordinator, said most participate for altruistic reasons. “Nashville has a great proportion of people who really do care,” he said. “Without the volunteers … the science doesn’t happen.”

The candidate HIV vaccines contain synthetic copies of parts of the AIDS virus and are not capable of causing an infection. Nearly 30 years since the human immunodeficiency virus was discovered, scientists are still trying to develop an effective vaccine against it. Their struggle testifies to the wiliness of the virus, which mutates rapidly to evade detection by the body’s immune system.

The breakthrough will come one day. Meanwhile, because HIV is still a serious threat, education provided to volunteers helps raise awareness in the community about the importance of protective measures like using condoms and avoiding blood-to-blood contact, Rybczyk said.

More than 1 million Americans have been diagnosed with AIDS since the epidemic began.

DIRECTIONS AND PARKING: Please park in front of Medical Center North, just off Medical Center Drive, on the sidewalk area at the bus pull-off. Please leave media signage on the dashboard of your vehicle if it’s not marked.

Media Inquiries:
John Howser
Director of News & Communications
News & Communications
Phone: 615-322-4747

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