"We Need to Deploy Them Very Thoughtfully and Carefully": Perceptions of Analytical Treatment Interruptions in HIV Cure Research in the United States-A Qualitative Inquiry

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2018 Jan;34(1):67-79. doi: 10.1089/AID.2017.0067. Epub 2017 Jul 10.


Strategies to control HIV in the absence of antiretroviral therapy are needed to cure HIV. However, such strategies will require analytical treatment interruptions (ATIs) to determine their efficacy. We investigated how U.S. stakeholders involved in HIV cure research perceive ATIs. We conducted 36 in-depth interviews with three groups of stakeholders: 12 people living with HIV, 11 clinician-researchers, and 13 policy-makers/bioethicists. Qualitative data revealed several themes. First, there was little consensus on when ATIs would be ethically warranted. Second, the most frequent perceived hypothetical motivators for participating in research on ATIs were advancing science and contributing to society. Third, risks related to viral rebound were the most prevalent concerns related to ATIs. Stakeholders suggested ways to minimize the risks of ATIs in HIV cure research. Increased cooperation between scientists and local communities may be useful for minimizing risk. Further ethics research is necessary.

Keywords: HIV cure research; United States; perceptions; treatment interruptions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Intersectoral Collaboration
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Time-to-Treatment*
  • United States