URMC’s HIV Vaccine Clinical Trials Unit Opens Buffalo Office

Researchers Look to Western NY for Help in the Search for a Vaccine

February 21, 2011

The Rochester Victory Alliance, the University of Rochester Medical Center’s HIV vaccine clinical trials unit, has opened a satellite clinic in downtown Buffalo to make it easier for volunteers in western New York to participate in ongoing HIV vaccine trials. The office is located at 206 S. Elmwood Ave.

The new location is part of a collaboration with AIDS Community Services of Western NY (ACS), a not-for-profit community-based organization that provides HIV/AIDS education, support and medical services to eight counties in western New York.

“We are excited about bringing HIV preventive services to the Buffalo community and feel fortunate to have found such a great partner as AIDS Community Services in Buffalo,” said Rochester Victory Alliance Director Michael Keefer, M.D. “Since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic, ACS has been dedicated to helping people at risk. They share our goal of one day achieving a world without AIDS. While that is still a long way off, they realize that what we all do today can make an important contribution.”

As new HIV/AIDS cases continue to grow each year, the demand for a vaccine is critical. Local and state statistics show that Buffalo and Rochester share similar rates of new HIV infections, with 67 to 69 percent found in men. Over 50 percent of new cases are in people ages 30 to 49, and almost 40 percent are African American. The Centers for Disease Control reports that one in five men who have sex with men are HIV positive and nearly half do not know it. Young men – especially young black men – are least likely to be aware they are infected. Globally, approximately 33 million people live with AIDS today and more than 16 million children have been orphaned due to losing parents to the disease.

The University of Rochester Medical Center was one of the first sites in the nation to conduct HIV vaccine research studies, beginning in 1988. Since then, nearly 1,300 people from the Rochester area have participated in more than 50 vaccine research trials. The Rochester Victory Alliance is a member of the international HIV Vaccine Trials Network, which is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The Rochester Victory Alliance currently works with HIV vaccine research teams in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and South Africa.

For more information about services or volunteering in a trial*, contact the Rochester Victory Alliance at (855) 816-5500, or in Rochester at the University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Ave, Rochester, 14642, (585) 756-2329 (756-2DAY). Visit the Rochester Victory Alliance on Facebook at http://www.RochesterVictoryAlliance.org/and Twitter at http://twitter.com/RocVictAlliance.

*The Rochester Victory Alliance is currently recruiting for a study involving men who have sex with men, the fastest-rising group of new reported HIV/AIDS cases in the U.S. Men interested in volunteering for the study must be between the ages of 18 and 50, healthy, circumcised, sexually active and HIV-negative. Participation requires 10 to 12 confidential office visits, four of which must be at the Victory Alliance in Rochester. Participants will be paid an average of $1,000. The vaccine used in the study is synthetic and cannot cause HIV or AIDS.

For Media Inquiries:
Carole Dowling
(585) 275-0258
Email Carole Dowling