HIV and Emerging Infectious Diseases Program Overview

What is a Clinical Trial?

A clinical trial (also clinical research) is a research study in which people participate as volunteers.

A research study is a scientific investigation to achieve a complete understanding of a topic.

Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find

  • Treatments and medications that work in people
  • Ways to improve health

There are strict rules for clinical trials, which are monitored by

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Food and Drug Administration

Some of the research studies at the NIH Clinical Center involve promising new treatments that may directly benefit patients.

You can Search the Studies to access a database of NIH clinical studies being conducted at the Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Why Participate?

Participants in clinical trials are

  • Seen by a team of expert doctors, nurses, technicians, and support staff
  • Often the first to receive promising new treatments before they become available in the community
  • Helping others with the same disease—both today and in the future

Participants in clinical trials can

  • Play a more active role in their own health care
  • Potentially gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available
  • Help others by contributing to greater medical knowledge

For questions about participating in any of these clinical studies, contact

Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office
Toll free: 800-411-1222
TTY: 866-411-1010

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