In May 2009, a workshop was held in Washington DC to identify ways in which HIV vaccine clinical research could benefit from and better incorporate behavioral and social science (BSS) considerations. Seventy-one people from government, non-government, and private organizations participated, including HIV vaccine researchers, clinical trial scientists, BSS researchers, community representatives, and sponsors. This workshop elucidated the opportunities and challenges for integrating BSS in HIV vaccine research by highlighting insights gained from previous BSS research on HIV prevention and highlighting new BSS approaches and methodologies. Meeting participants identified priority areas where BSS methodologies could significantly impact HIV research and developed concrete recommendations for addressing current challenges encountered in HIV vaccine research relating to social impact, risk assessment, community engagement, informed consent, risk reduction, and special populations. These recommendations address the need for improving the accuracy of participant data; standardizing data collection to enable comparisons across studies; engaging the community at all levels; using evidenced-based counseling techniques; understanding the needs and concerns of target populations; and considering the impacts of macro-level forces and influences. The importance of establishing collaborations that can carry out these recommendations and facilitate necessary changes in thinking and practice was emphasized throughout the meeting.
Vaccine (2010) 29 (14) 2509-2514 [doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.01.062]