Rameses Frederick is the HPTN/HVTN Community Education and Recruitment Program Coordinator at Emory Hope Clinic Vaccine Center in Atlanta. He has supported the educational and recruitment strategies for two landmark clinical trials, HVTN 703/HPTN 081 and HPTN 083.
How did you first get involved with the HPTN?
As a health promotion specialist for Mercy Care, I attended a Hope Clinic Community Advisory Board meeting. The meeting was my first introduction to research and clinical trials from a community input perspective. Being asked to review protocols and provide feedback, and knowing my responses were valued, was an honor.
What do you find most challenging about the work you do in support of the HPTN?
The most challenging part of my work is removing the stigma regarding HIV and clinical trials to a priority demographic that has not developed a strong relationship with health care providers. The word 'guinea pig' is still a common term used within all age groups.
What do you think will change about HIV prevention over the next five years?
Biomedical interventions will provide additional options in our prevention toolbox as well as a better understanding of what prevention options work best for a particular demographic. I'm also very excited about the Mosaico study, HVTN 706, testing DNA/protein as a possible vaccine against HIV.
What do you wish other people knew about your work?
For marginalized communities such as Black gay men and transgender individuals, clinical research encourages them to develop a relationship with health care providers. At the same time, study participants are giving back for a more significant cause. The benefits of trusting a health care provider and being transparent change how they move forward with self-care and prevention.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I am the founder of UrbanSocialites magazine, celebrating Black gay culture. I am also working on opening a community safe space in the Atlanta metro area.
What do you do when you aren't working?
I am an amateur photographer. I typically cover LGBTQ culture and events. I also blog for UrbanSocialites, providing content to encourage and uplift Black gay men.