Young women are an important target group in microbicide research, yet little is known about why they participate and stay in microbicide trials. Our study examined motivations for participating in a Phase I microbicide trial among 61 women ages 18 - 24 years in the continental USA and Puerto Rico. We also examined their perspectives on study participation. Participants underwent a semi-structured in-depth interview in which they were asked about factors that motivated enrollment and their experiences while participating. They also completed a Web-based Computer Assisted Self Interview in which they were asked to rate study burden (1 = low to 4 = high). Factors that motivated enrollment were altruism (29%), compensation (17%), a combination of altruism and compensation (37%) and free medical exams (17%). Factors that encouraged participants to stay in the study were study staff (95%), confirmation of good health (41%), and the opportunity to learn about their bodies (17%). Mean ratings of study burden ranged from 1.83 (having to travel to site) to 2.41 (colposcopy), indicating that participants were not highly bothered by visits or procedures. Although Phase I trials require invasive procedures, participants were not highly bothered by them and recognized them as necessary. Good relationships with staff and clear information about how procedures contribute to study goals may encourage participants to remain in trials. Young women may be motivated to enter microbicide trials by stressing the role they will play in discovering better HIV-prevention methods and highlighting the comprehensive preventive exams they will receive.
Keywords: HIV; Microbicides; Motivation; Puerto Rico; Research Participation; USA; Young Women.