Proud to Be an HIV-Vaccine Test Subject

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About Joseph Caputo

Joseph Caputo is a graduate of Boston University's Center for Science and Medical Journalism. He writes about science and pop culture from his man cave in Salem, Massachusetts.


  1. You are an incredible person. I’m female born female, so it looks like they don’t need me just yet, but I’m going to spread the word.

    Thank you for writing this.

  2. Joseph, thank you for your volunteerism. Future generations thank you too. :)

  3. Stefany Cunningham says:

    I just wanted to say that i was a participant in the I-PREX Global, one pill a day study at Fenway Health. I thought to myself that this would be a great way for me to give back something to a community that really cares about me, and one that I love dearly.

    My study was conducted at Fenway health in Boston Ma. One of only a handfull of research sites in the world. I was treated awesome and the staff at Fenway is probably the best I have ever encountered.
    The study in and of itself was huge and a very positive step in the fight to prevent the spread of HIV.

    I have since become an advocate of safe sex and hand out care packages with condoms and lube to everyone I might think could be at risk.

    I also found out that the HIV Virus is very well rooted in the Trangender community as well. One report I recieved from a health care worker that performs tests on girls in the Boston metro area told me that 1 in 3 transwomen tested positive for HIV.

    I think that these studies are a very positive way to combat this dreadfull disease. I would urge anyone that qualifies to become a research participant. Studies are there for our protection. To help us as human beings to stay alive and healthy. So I would urge anyone that were to read this comment, to drop by The Fenway Institute and get screaned for anyone of the current studies or visit……

    Stefany Cunningham

  4. Thank you Joseph for your insightful and inspiring article!

    My name is Genevieve Meyer and I work for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN). The HVTN is the coordinating center for DAIDS-funded HIV vaccine trials, including the study that you (Joseph) participated in.

    For any readers out there who are considering joining an HIV vaccine study, I’d like to reiterate one of Joseph’s key points: you cannot contract HIV from the vaccines! There is no actual HIV in the vaccines, only synthetic pieces of the virus. However, the vaccines are designed to cause the body’s immune system to develop an antibody response. This means that for some study participants, standard HIV antibody tests may come back positive even in the absence of actual HIV infection.

    In order for study participants to avoid any sort of misdiagnosis, the study site can provide accurate HIV testing for as long as it’s needed. If a participant is unable to return to the study site, the HVTN coordinating center can also ensure that accurate testing is provided. We could not do our work without the help of our many volunteers and we are committed to making trial participation as stress free as possible!

    Our thanks again to Joseph and the thousands of other volunteers who have given their time and energy to the effort of helping find an effective HIV vaccine.



    Genevieve Meyer, MA, MSW
    Project Manager, Community Education Unit
    HIV Vaccine Trials Network
    Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    [email protected]
    206 667-5300

  5. how do you become a test subject for an HIV cure?

  6. Skull Bearer says:

    I wish I could join in, this sounds amazing. Unfortunately I’m an asexual cis female, so I really don’t think I’d be much help :(

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