The first large-scale American trial of a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease begins next month.
The disease is type B hepatitis. The trial with the new vaccine will be among homosexual men. The go-ahead was given because of results from a just-completed study.
This study, conducted in five large cities, indicates that sexually transmitted hepatitis B infections are far more common among homosexual men than has been suspected. Researchers found antibody titer evidence of previous hepatitis B infection in at least 45% of the homosexual men studied. In the San Francisco area, the rate was 58%.
Based on those and other findings, the immunization trial will begin in April in at least five clinics. Two of these clinics, in Chicago and Los Angeles, are operated privately by homosexual groups to serve homosexual patients. The other three, in Denver, St Louis, and San Francisco, are public health clinics that serve