History of SHARE
SHARE began recruitment in April, 1984. 1,153 men enrolled in SHARE, with 40 percent coming from the Washington, DC, area. In order to enter the study, men had to meet 3 criteria:
- be between the ages of 18 and 65
- be gay or bisexual
- have no symptoms of HIV
In the late 1980s, SHARE recruited about 240 more men, mainly minorities, bringing enrollment up to 1,393. When the test for HIV ELISA became available, it was performed on stored blood specimens from SHARE participants. We found that 35 percent of SHARE participants were HIV-positive, 10 times greater than expected.
SHARE is one of the four sites in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS). One of the things that has made SHARE and MACS so effective over the years is the effort made by the study participants and investigators to collect and properly store specimens for future testing. Storing specimens in freezers has enabled us to test study participants for HIV, and subsequently measure their viral load.