Conceptual framework for behavioral and social science in HIV vaccine clinical research
Article in Press
HIV vaccine clinical research occurs within a context where biomedical science and social issues are interlinked. Previous HIV vaccine research has considered behavioral and social issues, but often treated them as independent of clinical research processes. Systematic attention to the intersection of behavioral and social issues within a defined clinical research framework is needed to address gaps, such as those related to participation in trials, completion of trials, and the overall research experience. Rigorous attention to these issues at project inception can inform trial design and conduct by matching research approaches to the context in which trials are to be conducted. Conducting behavioral and social sciences research concurrent with vaccine clinical research is important because it can help identify potential barriers to trial implementation, as well as ultimate acceptance and dissemination of trial results. We therefore propose a conceptual framework for behavioral and social science in HIV vaccine clinical research and use examples from the behavioral and social science literature to demonstrate how the model can facilitate identification of significant areas meriting additional exploration. Standardized use of the conceptual framework could improve HIV vaccine clinical research efficiency and relevance.