Volunteers for New HIV Drugs Get Harder to Find

Strengthened by newer drugs that can make HIV more of a chronic disease, Americans with the virus are much less likely to try unapproved therapies that could possibly benefit patients worldwide. According to AIDS experts, treatment improvements and demographic changes in the populations affected by the disease have hindered efforts to recruit patients into clinical trials. "There is not the incentive people once had," said Marty Keale, executive director of the Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services in Sacramento. "When you are speaking of HIV, more than any other disease, clinical trials and research are a key way for people to get cutting-edge drugs," said Dr. Donna DeFreitas, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California-Davis. Terry Wilson, who runs an AIDS volunteer program, said the "backbone" of the AIDS research population, Caucasian gay males, "are tired and suffering from AIDS fatigue." Wilson believes complacency and inconvenience are deterring volunteers. Also needed in research are African Americans, Latinos and women, as their percentage of all HIV cases surges.

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