AIDS Vaccine Test: Free
Medicine If You Develop AIDS
Team organizing test is prepared for the worst
Note: There are reactions to this story already appearing on the net. Here's one example from a career health professional: "This story has gotten me thinking...this is where they start their PR campaign - 'If the doctors are willing to take it, so should you.' I wonder if they really will give the doctors the vaccine (or sterile water). I don't know any doctors or nurses that would volunteer for this no matter what $$ they offer. It seems really suspicious to me. It is part of their marketing ploy, I think. They probably will try to say it is mandatory when the time comes, but NO vaccines are mandatory now (unless in military, I guess although there are exemptions there too).

-- A physicians group that plans to test an AIDS vaccine in humans using live strains of the virus says test subjects will get free medicine if they contract the disease.
Answering criticism that it is moving too fast with the tests, the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care said it has lined up three pharmaceutical makers to provide free medicine to the volunteers if they need it.
More than 200 people, mostly doctors and other health care workers, have volunteered to test the vaccine, including Joe Zuniga, a former army soldier who was discharged in 1993 for disclosing he is gay.
"We don't expect people to progress into AIDS, but we're trying to avoid that 'reckless' label that some people have assigned to us in the world," Zuniga said.
The vaccine will be made with a live but weakened strain of HIV. The Food and Drug Administration, which has not yet approved any AIDS vaccines that include a live virus, is reviewing the plan.
The group hopes to begin the trial in 2000 and have an effective, safe vaccine by 2007, Zuniga said.
The first trial would begin by injecting five volunteers, followed by a six-to-nine month monitoring period for safety and tolerability. If it appears safe, the number of participants would be gradually increased.
Some physicians contend the volunteer effort is premature because not enough work has been done to ensure the safety and usefulness of any AIDS vaccine.
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