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Vaccine preparedness: lessons from Lyantonde, Uganda

Paul Ritvo
Dennis Willms
Robert Meisner
Laura Brown
Adam Goldman
Nelson Sewankambo


To explore how to better educate rural Africans about preventive HIV/AIDS vaccine trials, 15 semi-structured, openended interviews were conducted with villagers in Lyantonde, Rakai District, Uganda. This study reports on the findings by focusing on the attitudes, knowledge and questions the rural villagers had about HIV/AIDS-preventive vaccine testing. While several interviewees confused preventive vaccines with therapeutic vaccines, most were clear about the distinction and about key questions to ask about vaccine testing. In addition, some subjects manifested high levels of trust in the likely effectiveness of preventive vaccines, even in the testing stages, most subjects demonstrated the potential to be intelligently inquisitive about the likely effects. In sum, these villagers show the potential to be reliable subjects, motivated for appropriate reasons, and willing to play a role in advancing the progress of HIV/AIDS vaccine development in Africa.

Keywords: Africa, ethnography, experimental trials, HIV/AIDS prevention, participatory action research, qualitative interviews

African Journal of AIDS Research 2006, 5(1): 11–16

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eISSN: 1608-5906
print ISSN: 1727-9445