As the HIV/AIDS epidemic took hold in Africa in the 1990s, researchers studying ways to treat and prevent the disease struggled with the ethical questions involved. Was it appropriate to use placebos in trials of drugs that were already proven effective in high-income countries? How could they ensure research subjects were not unduly influenced into participation when the alternative in many cases was no treatment at all? How could investigators clearly communicate the potential risks to populations with little education and low literacy?
After consultations with the research community, Fogarty launched a bioethics research and training program in 2000 aimed at building capacity in Africa and other low- and middle-income countries. Since then, hundreds of academics, scientists and health officials have developed expertise to address the issues affecting their populations in the context of their own culture and research environment. More on this development is here.