Introduction AIDS vaccine research is complex; the role of an AIDS vaccine advocate is challenging. Explaining the hopeful, yet slow and complicated progress in AIDS vaccine research to non-scientific stakeholders requires someone with relatively deep knowledge of complex science, research process, and related technical issues. Likewise, the critical role of representing stakeholder concerns to AIDS vaccine researchers requires someone who can speak in language that commands scientist’s attention and respect.
Methods Through the Vaccine Advocacy Resource Group (VARG) a global team of AIDS prevention research advocates play a critical liaison role in a highly complex scientific field. Since 2014, the VARG has been convened virtually largely through teleconferences and email to receive research updates, discuss advocates perspectives and priorities, and to move forward key actions. Since 2015 this engagement has increasingly happened in person at some of the worlds largest HIV Vaccine Trial gatherings, elevating the role of community based advocates in a traditionally scientific space.
Results These efforts have been impactful in terms of coalescing the team of vaccine-specific advocates, building VARG members skills and understanding to a certain degree, and preparing them for conferences and scientific meetings.
Conclusion This poster aims to demonstrate how building the capacity of community advocates on the science of HIV Prevention Research Advocacy, particularly how it relates to vaccine research can strengthen community ownership of clinical trials and result in AIDS competent communities long before the trial has ended, as that community continues to advocate for increased awareness of, access to and uptake of existing HIV and STI prevention options
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