HIV prevention research, clinical trials, and implementation take place in countries and communities that are shaped by laws, regulations, budgets, and policies enacted at local, national, and even international levels. These elements form the policy environment in which HIV prevention research and programming take place.
Policy and HIV prevention research and advocacy:
Enabling ethical, scientifically
sound clinical trials
Monitoring and advocacy of policy issues related to HIV prevention research are critical to ensuring that research is ethical, scientifically rigorous, and sufficiently supported with financial resources and political will. National and local policies on the design, approval and monitoring of trials are the foundation for HIV prevention research. The Good Participatory Guidelines developed by AVAC and UNAIDS are designed to provide systematic guidance on the roles and responsibilities of trial sponsors and trial implementers towards participants and their communities.
Ensuring financing for research
and future trials
Funding for HIV prevention research is another key arena for policy-related advocacy. In the US, advocates continue to pressure US lawmakers to approve increased funding for the US National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the US Military HIV Research Program and the US Agency for International Development as the major funders of HIV prevention research worldwide. In Europe, advocates pressure the European Union and national governments to increase investments in HIV vaccine, microbicide and PrEP research. Lower-resourced countries, such as South Africa, Brazil and India, also contribute financially and by supporting clinical trials locally.
Supporting Research Coordination
for HIV prevention research
Research coordination is an important focus for policy advocacy. Efficient use of limited research funds is critical in this era of limited public sector budgets. Research coordination also ensures that research is cross-cutting, synergistic and non-duplicative. Research consortia can allow for data sating across networks and borders. Advocacy in support of strategic planning by national, multilateral and international organizations can provide important focus to HIV prevention research.
Effecting change, protecting
Communities can work collectively to challenge and change laws harmful to human rights and HIV prevention research. For example, advocates, activists, and public-health professionals are working in many countries to overturn laws criminalizing homosexuality, HIV transmission or provision of syringe exchange, two types of legislation that obstruct a rights-based response to HIV prevention.