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Research Volunteering - Can it hurt?
Mar 4, 2006

Dr Young:

Ive written to you before and you helped me out.

I am 43yo guy that was originally infected with HIV in Dec 2003 and tested positive in March 2004. Due to my many labs over the past year with VL <50 CD4% at 40% or 800 and CD8s running less than CD4s, the experts believe that I am a non-progressor, I pray they are right. Even you have suggested this to me.

As such, I have been in several ongoing research programs. I am now considering another program, but I have a nurse friend who says its no good for me to give blood or tissue so much. What are your thoughts on this? Am I going to ruin a good thing?

You have always given me what I believe is a straight answer, can you help me out. I like participating in these programs, but I dont want to hurt myself.

thanks

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

At one level, your nurse friend is right-- it does YOU no specific good to donate your blood and/or tissues for clinical research studies, particularly if those studies aren't providing you with medications. Any research study should come with a very detailed description of the study design, the inherent risks and any potential benefits to you-- this is the process called informed consent.

Having said that, the altruism and volunteerism shown to the HIV community by tens of thousands of research volunteers is exactly the reason why we now have approved medications for HIV-- medications that if we can deliver to the global HIV community could save tens of millions of lives. I believe that this is an intangible benefit to the study subject's soul.

So, volunteer to your heart's (or soul's) content. I can't but think that the world would be a better place if more were like you.

Thanks for reading. BY



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