Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



J Int AIDS Soc


24 Suppl 7




AIDS Vaccines; Adolescent; Ethics Committees, Research; Female; HIV Infections; Humans; Pregnancy; Research Design; Research Personnel


INTRODUCTION: A major change in the ethics framework for preventive HIV vaccine trials worldwide is the release of the UNAIDS 2021 ethical considerations in HIV prevention trials. This new guidance comes at an exciting time when there are multiple HIV vaccine efficacy trials in the field. Research Ethics Committees (RECs) or Institutional Review Boards are a most likely audience for these guidelines. Our objective is to highlight shifts in ethics recommendations from the earlier 2012 UNAIDS guidance.

DISCUSSION: We review recommendations related to four key issues, namely standard of prevention, post-trial access to safe and effective vaccines, enrolment of adolescents and enrolment of pregnant women. We outline implications and make recommendations for the ethics review process, including suggested lines of inquiry by RECs and responses by applicants.

CONCLUSIONS: There have been several shifts in the UNAIDS ethics guidance with implications for HIV vaccine researchers submitting applications for initial ethics review or re-certification, and for RECs conducting such reviews. This review may assist RECs in a more efficient and consistent application of ethics recommendations. However, additional tools and training may further help stakeholders comply with new UNAIDS ethics recommendations during protocol development and ethics review.


Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Journal of the International AIDS Society published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the International AIDS Society

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


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