Recent advances made in cell and gene therapies for cancer suggest that they represent plausible strategies to cure HIV. However, the health risks and constraints associated with these therapies require a deeper understanding of the expectations of such treatments among people living with HIV (PLWH).
We conducted 15 semistructured in-depth interviews among patients from 2 HIV units in Switzerland. After a conversation about their perceptions of research on HIV therapies, participants were provided with a trial description using a gene-modified cell therapy as a potentially curative approach. They were invited to discuss how they might consider participation in the trial. Content analysis was performed to identify core themes.
Participants perceived the trial as burdensome and uncertain. Most were aware that cure was not guaranteed, and 6 of the 15 considered that they would participate. Two main concerns were expressed about potential participation: (1) the impact on the professional life and fear to be stigmatized because of this and (2) the fact that stopping antiretroviral treatment would challenge the balance currently achieved in their lives. The decision to participate would depend on their understanding of the trial, the availability of sufficient information, and the relationship with health care professionals.
Involving PLWH in early stages of research would be crucial to improve their understanding of gene-modified cell therapies. It could also help adapt trials to address key factors, including the anticipation of stigma, which may discourage PLWH from participating in treatment research.

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