November 27th, 2019

In Honor of World AIDS Day, Here’s How Clinical Trials Can Advance HIV Research

world aids day

Sponsors and CROs can support individuals impacted by HIV/AIDs by connecting HIV patients with potentially life-changing clinical trials.

December 1st is World AIDS Day, an opportunity to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and support the 37.9 million people worldwide living with HIV. It is also a reminder that in the ongoing fight against AIDS, clinical trial sponsors and CROs have an important role to play.

Recent years have seen significant improvements to the quality of life of HIV positive patients. With medication, HIV is now a manageable condition, and individuals can live a long and healthy life without the fear of transmitting the virus to HIV negative partners.

Advancements in HIV treatment would not have been possible without clinical trials. In fact, nearly all medications used to treat HIV patients were studied in clinical trials in the US. Today, sponsors and CROs can continue to support HIV positive patients by ensuring they stay informed about new, potentially life-changing treatments and therapies.

The Importance of HIV Clinical Trials

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is currently the gold standard for HIV treatment, and it is used to treat an estimated 23.3 million people worldwide. Although overwhelmingly successful in clinical settings, ART does not eliminate the HIV virus and requires a strict daily regimen of medications to remain effective.

Recently, clinical trial researchers have been developing new treatments aimed at eliminating the need for daily medication. Clinical trial researchers at Rockefeller University have published studies in Nature and Nature Medicine that suggest a form of immunotherapy that combines two anti-HIV antibodies and is capable of suppressing HIV for months at a time. American Gene Technology, a research facility based in Maryland, recently submitted research to the FDA for phase 1 trials of an autologous cell therapy that would restore the cells’ natural processes to create immunity against the virus.

Sponsors and CROs of HIV-related clinical trials can bring potentially life-saving therapies to patients who struggle with daily drug regimens. Recruiting a diverse group of eligible patients for these studies can help accelerate drug development and bring promising new treatments to market.

Digital Strategies for Patient Recruitment

 For sponsors and CROs looking to connect with HIV patients, taking advantage of the digital recruitment tools at their disposal can make a significant difference. Although many clinical trial sponsors utilize digital patient recruitment tools, taking time to develop a robust digital strategy can increase recruitment rates and keep enrolled patients engaged.

In the US alone, six million people use search engines to find health-related information every day, and over 4.5 percent of all searches are health-related. SEO is a powerful tool that can connect recruiters with HIV patients who are already looking for treatment. By investing in SEO strategies, sponsors and CROs can help ensure that their studies appear in organic search results for relevant HIV-related queries. 

Sponsors and CROs can optimize their content – and thus ensure it shows up in patients’ search engine results pages (SERPs) – by using targeted keywords. Particularly effective are long tail keywords like “HIV treatment in Cleveland,” which connect trials with patients who are serious about treatment and located in the right geographic region.

When engaging with HIV patients, the right copy matters. On websites and landing pages, sponsors and CROs should be sure to address the pain points of HIV patients, such as common side-effects associated with HIV treatments and the demands of managing a strict drug regimen. Marketing materials should also make a compelling case for why clinical trials offer an attractive alternative to daily medication.

With the right digital strategy, sponsors and CROs can generate quality leads for new patients without increasing expenses. By connecting patients with promising clinical trials, researchers can accelerate drug development and bring about treatments that will benefit HIV patients worldwide.