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How Can I Find a Clinical Trial Today?

November 25, 2013

How Can I Find a Clinical Trial Today?

In the early days of AIDS, accessing new treatments through a clinical trial frequently meant the difference between life and death. Finding out about a clinical trial was usually by word of mouth from a friend or activist who was enrolled in the study or had information about a study that was recruiting. Physicians also often referred their patients to trials.

Later on, when there were many competing antiretrovirals being studied, other techniques to get the word out included flyers and brochures. AIDS newsletters and national bulletins such as BETA covered trial results and also helped to raise awareness about new studies.

Participating in a clinical trial can still afford you early access to new therapies, free medical care, and compensation for your time, but today you can be proactive and find clinical trials yourself with easy-to-use online resources.

The comprehensive website provides arguably the best registry and results database for publicly and privately supported clinical trials around the world. The site is fairly simple to use, and each trial page provides all the information you need about a trial you may be interested in.


To get started, go to the "For Patients and Families" section and click on "How to Find Studies," which will walk you through the process of finding the trial you are looking for.

In most cases you'll find everything you want to know about a trial that has been registered in the database. A full description, including sponsors, purpose, eligibility criteria, and contact information, is provided. If you really want to dig down, there are references from medical publications and a list of keywords. (The site contains a wealth of information you can spend time perusing instead of!)

A new site that is generating a lot of interest is The goal of the site is to connect people trying to find studies and researchers looking for trial participants.

Researchers register their Institutional Review Board-approved studies to be added to the database. As a potential trial participant, you sign up and wait to be contacted for trials you may be interested in. The site does the rest by matching participants to the studies.

Both and are free and user-friendly and provide the widest source of clinical trial information available. You no longer have to wait to hear about a trial from a support group or your doctor.

Further Resources

In addition to the sites described above, these specialized resources can help you track down clinical trials that fit your needs.

  • HIVresource:  News and information about studies enrolling in the San Francisco Bay Area, published quarterly online and available by email or print subscription.
  • HIV Prevention Trials Network: Find currently enrolling studies of a variety of HIV prevention tools around the world.
  • HIV Vaccine Trials Network: Learn how to participate in an HIV vaccine trial join a local Community Advisory Board.
  • Microbicide Trials Network: Get information specific to trials of vaginal and/or rectal microbicide products to prevent HIV infection.
  • IMPAACT: Learn about studies enrolling through the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Trials Group.

Matt Sharp is a person with AIDS, longtime HIV treatment advocate, and writer.

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This article was provided by BETA. Visit their website at
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