Why hasn't the media splashed this story all over the place?! Admittedly, I'm not always on top of the news, despite my profession, but I only happened to stumble upon this story near the bottom of a news site. People need to know this!
The Associated Press announced today that a trial AIDS vaccine not only doesn't work but actually INCREASED recipients' chances of contracting HIV.
I'm stunned. No words do this justice. It's frightening that such a huge study, conducted by a very well-financed company, failed so miserably. They've done permanent, serious damage to the lives of the trial participants, and it's a huge setback in the quest to find a vaccine.
The majority of the 3,000 participants were gay men and female sex workers (prostitutes and porn actresses). Why? In my irritation, I can think of only two possibilities:
1) Merck didn't notice that the majority of people contracting HIV these days are in their 30s, and that about half the people who get HIV/AIDS through sexual contact are straight? Shoot, a large number of them are seniors, especially here in Florida -- thanks, Viagra!
2) The study attracted that demographic simply because those folks are more frightened than the rest of us and thus eager to try just about anything to protect themselves. Are the rest of us blind to our risk?
This blog was posted in haste during my very unpleasant reaction to the news story. I don't know much about this trial or what went wrong, so I'm going to read up on it. Perhaps some of you know more and can educate me -- either assuage my fears or anger me further?
Start here: Merck and HIV Vaccine Trials Network.