REPRIEVE Trial Investigators Launch "Follow YOUR Heart" Campaign for Women Living with HIV

2016-06-17 | ,

Research shows that women are often underrepresented in HIV clinical trials. In fact, a study recently published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes found that less than a quarter of clinical trial participants for antiretroviral medications are women. Women's participation in HIV clinical trials is crucial to ensure findings help improve the health of both women and men living with HIV.

Last year marked the launch of the landmark REPRIEVE clinical trial. Funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), REPRIEVE is the first large-scale trial investigating a strategy for heart disease prevention among women and men living with HIV. Women with HIV are three times more likely to have a heart attack than women without HIV.

REPRIEVE Investigators Sara Looby, PhD, and Markella Zanni, MD of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, received additional NIAID funding to examine, within REPRIEVE, how factors unique to women, such as female hormones, affect heart disease risk and risk reduction. They also received support to develop the Follow YOUR Heart campaign to educate women living with HIV about HIV-associated heart disease risk and the importance of clinical trial participation.

The centerpiece of the Follow YOUR Heart campaign, which launched in April 2016, is a video offering fresh perspectives on clinical trials participation directly from women living with HIV. In addition, the Follow YOUR Heart webpage includes an inspirational song by songwriter David Berkeley that was commissioned for the campaign. The website also features a monthly blog, My Heart Matters, on issues pertaining to the heart health of women living with HIV.

In an effort to identify barriers to clinical trials participation and develop an authentic campaign, Drs. Looby and Zanni conducted community-based research among 40 women living with or at-risk for HIV. They discovered that watching a research study video and talking to a research study participant or healthcare provider were identified by potential participants as effective strategies to promote engagement in HIV clinical trials.

Follow YOUR Heart is an important part of REPRIEVE, the largest HIV clinical trial focused on heart disease prevention among people living with HIV. To date, REPRIEVE has enrolled nearly 1,600 participants living with HIV across approximately 90 trial sites. The study aims to enroll 6,500 participants between the ages of 40 to 75 years across 100 trial sites in United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil, South Africa, Botswana, and Thailand by the end of 2017.

To hear women with HIV share why research participation matters to them, learn more about how HIV-associated heart disease affects women and men, and find out how you can get involved in REPRIEVE visit

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