In recent years, there have been promising results from both HIV vaccine and microbicide clinical trials. In the next few years, results are anticipated from a number of other microbicide, vaccine and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trials. As the results of new HIV prevention technology (NPT) trials are released and discussions emerge about the implications of the results, it is important that a range of stakeholders understand what the results mean, and the process that led to their discovery. Understanding the research process will help advocates, policy makers and service providers to prepare for the outcomes of prevention trials and communicate about trial results. This fact sheet outlines the basic steps in the research process and the roll-out of NPTs; where research is taking place and why; the role and experience of study volunteers; and the roles of other players in NPT research.