US: Kids as the subject of AIDS clinical trials

A city agency said Friday that it has asked for a review of its policies and whether they were followed when it allowed more than 400 HIV-positive children in foster care to be enrolled in tests of &to=http:// ' target=_blank>HIV drugs from the late 1980s to 2001.

John Mattingly, commissioner of the Administration for Children's Services, said the inquiry would look into whether the agency acquired the necessary parental or guardian permissions to include the children in the research.

The agency said that about 465 HIV-positive children were enrolled in drug tests between 1988 and 2001, the majority before 1996. The tests were conducted as researchers tried to figure out what kind of drugs would combat HIV and AIDS in children.

The tests were approved by the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>National Institutes of Health and were conducted at some of the most well-known hospitals in the city. Advocates like the Alliance for Human Research Protection have accused the agency of exploiting the children. Vera Hassner Sharav, president of the alliance, questioned whether any review called for by the agency itself could be credible. She called for a federal investigation, tells DFV.

According to the New York Post, advocates have questioned why these kids — most of them black or Hispanic — were the ones subjected to the medical tests. Stein has pointed out that treatment back then was not as developed as it is today and that virtually every HIV-afflicted child in the United States was in some clinical trial.

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