PloS one 2017 11 0212(11) e0187489 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0187489
Despite huge advances in the fight against HIV concerning diagnosis, clinical efficacy of antiretroviral treatments (ART), patient survival and quality of life, there is still no cure. Recent developments in HIV cure research have opened the way for clinical trials which could lead to a temporary or definitive end to ART. However, ethical questions exist about related trial-participation risks. The main goal of the ANRS-APSEC survey was, using Q-methodology, to investigate the viewpoints of people living with HIV (PLWH) and HIV healthcare providers (HHP) regarding motivations for and barriers to participation in HIV Cure-related clinical trials (HCRCT).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Thirty-three statements were defined encompassing seven dimensions: treatment and follow-up; risks; benefits; patient-physician relationship; beliefs and attitudes; information; target population. Forty-one PLWH and 41 HHP from five French HIV services were asked to rank-order the statements.
Five main viewpoints were elicited from "the most motivated" to "the most reluctant" vis-à-vis HCRCT participation. All placed importance on the wish to participate in HIV research. This result is in line with the HIV-specific culture of joint mobilization. For some viewpoints, the motivation to participate in/propose HCRCT was primarily conditioned by side-effects and/or by constraints, which overall were more accepted by PLWH than HHP. Some viewpoints placed particular importance on HCRCT recruitment strategies. Finally, some expressed a high acceptance of risks and constraints but emphasized the need for information.
HIV cure research clinical trials (HCRCT) constitute a risky yet unavoidable step towards the goal of finding a cure. To improve future HCRCT and informed consent designs, based on PLWH and HHP preferences and expectations, we need greater knowledge about how these populations perceive the risks and the benefits of HCRCT. Our results confirmed the importance of careful, studied HCRCT design, management and communication, to ensure PLWH and HHP acceptability and convergence of their expectations.