Now Hair This: HIV-Vaccine Study

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Nov 5, 2009  |  Updated 12:30 PM PDT
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Dramatic Hair Transformations

Collin Pierson Photography

Researchers at the San Francisco Department of Health are looking for dark-haired guinea pigs for an HIV-drug study.

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Your dark locks could hold the key to a breakthrough in preventing people from getting HIV.

Researchers at the San Francisco Department of Health and UCSF are looking for dark-haired guinea pigs for an HIV-drug study. Besides having brunette or black locks, the participants must be HIV-negative.

The "Strand Study" looks at the effectiveness of tenofovir, a drug scientists are working on that could prevent people from being infected with the disease.

Some say blondes have more fun but their hair is no good for the study. Drug molecules bind  to the pigment in hair. Since brown and black hair has more pigment, levels of the drug is easier to measure. The researchers will use the dark strands to see how well people are complying with their drug regimen and how well the body is metabolizing it.

Participants can get paid up to $1,300. Not a bad deal for a chance to be a part of a medical breakthrough that could someday lead to a vaccine for HIV. Here's more info about how you can become involved in the trial.

Volunteers have already started enrolling. The study will begin in a couple of months.

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