START UP Volunteers

Samples to Aid Researchers to Upend HIV (START UP) is a blood donation study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support research in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), such as research on HIV treatment, prevention, or conditions that may make health worse in people with or at risk for HIV.

About Participating

Volunteers are the heart of research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Without you, we would have extremely limited research. Everyone has a different reason for volunteering. Whether it is to help future generations, to give back, or to be on the cutting edge of science, we are so grateful for all of the volunteers that help us with our work.

Enroll as a Volunteer

The START UP database is a secure, password protected database that offers people with and without HIV the opportunity to donate blood for HIV-related research studies. Research studies usually have rules about who can and cannot participate. These are called inclusion and exclusion criteria. If you enroll in START UP, you will fill out an online survey that will ask you to answer some questions about your health history and some contact information. These questions are designed to help us match you with opportunities that are appropriate for you. You may choose to fill out as much or as little information as you wish. The more information you fill out, however, the easier it will be for us to match you with opportunities to donate blood.

While you will not be compensated for enrolling in START UP, you will be compensated each time you donate blood.

Once you sign up for START UP, we will contact you when a study becomes available that you are eligible to donate blood for.

Participant Resources

Privacy and Confidentiality

It is a privilege to involve people in research. UCLA and Charles Drew University (CDU) take this privilege very seriously. Federal regulations, state laws and University of California and CDU policies require that UCLA and CDU protect the rights and welfare of research participants. Everyone at UCLA and CDU is responsible for following these requirements. Every participant receives the same high level of protection. This is true no matter who pays for the research or where the research actually takes place.
Your privacy and confidentiality is very important to us. If you are concerned about your privacy or confidentiality, please contact us for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is research?

Research is the scientific search for knowledge. In science, we look at the information we collect during research to improve what we know about something.

Why is research important?
If not for research, we would not have the medicines currently used to treat different diseases. We would also not know which interventions help people more in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections or taking their medicines regularly. A lot of research just doesn’t happen because there aren’t enough volunteers. The information scientists learn from research helps to improve medical care for future patients.

What type of research does START UP involve?
START UP collects blood samples for laboratory research. Laboratory research involves only blood draws so that researchers can test your blood in the laboratory but there are no interventions.

Why do researchers need volunteers?
Scientists can’t come up with vaccines for HIV, test new drugs against old ones to see which is better, find new treatments or learn about behaviors without research. Research cannot be done without research volunteers.

Why should I volunteer for research?
There are lots of reasons to volunteer for research. Every person who has volunteered for a study has a different reason for volunteering. Some people say that they volunteer because they want to be on the cutting edge of new discoveries. Others volunteer because a friend or family member has a disease that needs new treatments and they want to be able to help. Some people volunteer because they want to help future generations. Your reason for volunteering might be different. Whatever your reason for
volunteering is, we are lucky to have you.

What if I don’t have HIV?
We are looking for people with and without HIV to join START UP.

Why does the START UP survey ask so many questions?
The questions on the survey are designed to match you to blood donation opportunities. The more questions you answer, the easier it will be for us to match you to an opportunity. You can choose to answer as many or as few questions as you want.

If I choose email as the way I would prefer to be contacted, what will I receive?
If email is your contact preference, whenever we email you, we will use the email address The subject line of the email will always say “START UP”. There will never be a mention of HIV in the email body or subject line. The body of the email will say, “This is a contact from START UP. We have found a research match that you may be interested in. For more information on this study, please contact [study coordinator’s name] at [study coordinator’s phone number]. If you have any questions about the START UP program, please feel free to email us at or call us at 310-825-5147.” Please note that if you choose to communicate with START UP staff by email, you should not include any sensitive health information, as the confidentiality of emails cannot be guaranteed.

What if I want to stop participating in START UP?
If you want to stop participating in START UP, we may ask you some questions about the reasons you stopped participating, but you can cancel your participation at any time, with no penalty.

Who can I contact for more information?
If you are interested in more information about START UP, please email us at or call us at 310-843-2015. Please note that if you choose to respond by email, you should not include any sensitive health information, as the confidentiality of emails cannot be guaranteed.