Ethical issues raised by the HIV/AIDS epidemic
Research and clinical trials on HIV medicines and vaccines
The document is a result of meetings convened by UNAIDS during 1997-99 with lawyers, activists, social scientists, epidemiologists, representatives of NGO's, people living with HIV/AIDS, and people working in health policy from a total of 33 countries. It highlights, from UNAIDS' perspective, some of the critical elements that must be considered in HIV vaccine development activities.
The meeting brought together a mutidisciplinary group of 21 participants from a dozen countries. It was designed to facilitate discussions of these issues in a way that is informed by evidence on the influence of culture and context, and by case studies illustrating problems and their possible solutions.
While many existing documents provide guidance on ethical issues in biomedical research and some specifically address vaccine research, few were drafted with a focus on the particular ethical issues posed by vaccine trials among children in developing countries. As part of an effort to address this situation, the World Health Organization (WHO) held a meeting in Accra, Ghana on 26–28 November 2002 to consider various ethical issues that might arise during the performance of vaccine trials in paediatric populations in developing countries. This document is the result of that meeting. It highlights some of the critical ethical issues that should be considered in vaccine development and evaluation, largely from the perspective of those conducting trials among paediatric populations in developing countries.