The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will invest approximately $1.8 million to increase its efforts to improve the treatment and prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in Guatemala and to further strengthen ethical training on human research protections. Building on existing work by HHS agencies, these new activities are part of the Obama Administration's commitment to ensuring that the United States has the strongest possible human subject protections at home and around the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will expand its current investment that supports the Guatemalan Ministry of Health and Social Assistance’s (MSPAS) strategy to improve surveillance and control of HIV and other STDs among at-risk populations in Guatemala. CDC supports approximately 60 percent of the costs of the strategy and will increase that investment by $775,000 over three years.
CDC support will assist MSPAS in expanding and updating national STD guidelines for diagnosis and treatment, strengthening the national surveillance system of STDs, and supporting laboratory diagnostic capacity. In Latin America, Central America is second only to the Caribbean as the sub-region most affected by the HIV epidemic.
In addition, the National Institutes of Health is committing $1 million to support research that will be used to evaluate the impact of the revisions to the HHS regulations governing human subject research that are currently being considered. Assessing the impact of the revisions that are ultimately implemented will be critical to the development of an evidence-based approach to ensuring the effectiveness of human research subject protections. The U.S. government considers the protection of human subjects in research to be of paramount importance and requires all federally funded research on human subjects to adhere to the most stringent ethical guidelines. There are currently numerous safeguards in place in the United States to prohibit these types of unethical practices, and the review of current regulations and standards is part of the administration's effort to ensure we have the best possible human subject protection in the United States and around the world.
CDC will improve public health investigators’ ethics training by updating existing epidemiology case studies, based on actual investigations involving research methods and ethical considerations. These case studies are included in the standard curriculum offered to all Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) residents. Additionally, CDC is developing a case study that references specifics from the unethical research conducted in Guatemala in the 1940s by the U.S. Public Health Services. The case study will include learning objectives focused on the scientific and ethical issues in designing a field study, including components of a protocol, sampling strategy and sample size, informed consent in developing countries, developing an informed consent form, institutional review boards, and other scientific and ethical issues related to developing and conducting a field investigation. Each year, approximately 400 to 600 new residents across 40 countries participate in CDC’s FETP training.