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Participant Perspectives on Drug Use/HIV Testing Research Ethics










Center for Ethics Education Research

Participant Perspectives on HIV/Drug Research Ethics

Existing federal research regulations and ethical standards often fall short when investigators apply them to the study of vulnerable populations and marginalized communities. One such population is illicit drug users who are living with or at high risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS. In response to this serious ethical concern, the goal of this National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded research project (IDA 1 RO1 DA015649-01A2) is to give individuals who use drugs and who are positive or at high risk for HIV/AIDS a voice (through focus groups, individual interviews, and surveys) in how drug and HIV/AIDS research is conducted within their communities. In general, such ethical issues concern the risks and benefits of research recruitment and participation, how well informed participants are about the nature of their study and research rights, how confidential information will be protected and when it may be disclosed to others, and ethically appropriate and inappropriate ways of compensating individuals for their research participation. This research project (co-directed by Dr. Celia Fisher, Fordham University, and Dr. Merrill Singer, University of Connecticut) is being conducted in collaboration with Housing Works, a New York City-based social service and advocacy group serving homeless individuals who are living with or at high risk for HIV/AIDS.

The following video, produced in connection with this project, simulates an encounter between a medical researcher and an individual considering participating in a randomized clinical trial for a drug to reduce cocaine cravings.


This video is about a researcher trying to recruit drug users to participate in a study.


This video depicts a field research situation in which a researcher interviews a drug user about his sexual activities and drug use.



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