The medical clinical research study in which I participated was the Study of Gardasil in Human Papillomavirus Research The Mid-Adult Male Vaccine Study, conducted the Moffitt Cancer Center and Merck (Gardasil’s manufacturer). I discovered an ad posted to a bulletin board at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The ad stated that the clinical trials were paid which immediately intrigued me.
A Study about Gardasil, a Vaccine against HPV
Evidently, Gardasil was already approved for a vaccine for HPV for young women, particularly to prevent certain cancers in women such as cervical cancer. Later, Gardasil was approved for young men, ages 9 to 26 to prevent against genital warts in sexually active young men. Sometimes, genital warts can lead to precancerous lesions.
However, for the study in which I was invited to participate, this would be among men ages 27 to 45. The qualifications were pretty straight forward. Participants had to be in the age range, had not already received an HPV vaccine and no impairments to the immune system. I met these qualifications.
Collection of Personal Information.
Participation in the study was interesting. For over 2 years, each visit more or less involved gathering information about my sexual history in between visits. The computer-based questionnaire was very thorough and very specific about every possible way that any type of sexually transmitted disease might be passed from one human to another. I didn’t find this overly invasive. The questions were asked professionally and only what was necessary to determine what type of sexual behavior could result in disease. Sometimes, I did wonder if the answers could be tracked back to the person. But, this was not a major concern.
Physical Aspects of the Study
As with any medical clinical study, there are physical aspects to the study in which biological samples must be collected. I was always called two days before to be reminded of the study and to avoid any behavior that might provide invalid data such as washing the body completely before coming to the visit and to avoid any sexual relations 24 hours before the visit.
On the day of the visit, routine blood work and body vitals were taken. I found this to be the best part of the study as I always had my pulse taken, bodyweight examined, an HIV test, and blood pressure checked…and was compensated for it. Plus, each time for over 2 years, no problems ever arose.
Probably, the most uncomfortable part was that a genital/anal exam examination was taken which also included a biopsy to check for possible warts. The lady nurse practitioner always did this every rapidly and professionally. So, it was really not a big deal.
Administration of the Gardasil
I would be lying if I said that the administration of the actual Gardasil was fun. It was actually somewhat painful, almost like a brief bee sting. Sometimes, my arm felt a bit stiff and tense. But, overall, I didn’t suffer any particular side effects.
Look for a Medical Trial Near you.
Look for a medical trial near you. The National Institutes of Health’s website lists numerous current medical studies. Many of them involve very good compensation. This one paid $200. Unfortunately, many people are apprehensive about participating in medical trials. They think that some harm might come and that it makes them feel like “guinea pigs.” Far from it! All along the way, you are told what the study is about, why it is being conducted, what will happen to you, and your consent is asked all the way through the study. You are constantly monitored for any side effects as this is the purpose of the study because everyone’s body is different. Furthermore, depending on the study, you can get a mini periodical physical exam, which everyone should really have done on a regular basis. Plus, you can have the satisfaction of advancing scientific knowledge that might help others one day.