Acceptability of Cell and Gene Therapy for Curing HIV Infection Among People Living with HIV in the Northwestern United States: A Qualitative Study

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2019 Jul;35(7):649-659. doi: 10.1089/AID.2019.0021. Epub 2019 May 21.


Multiple strategies to cure HIV infection are under investigation, including cell and gene therapy (C&GT) approaches. Research, and ultimately treatment, with these novel strategies will require patients' willingness to participate. To elicit the perspectives of people living with HIV specific to these novel approaches, we conducted 4 focus group discussions with a diverse group of 19 English-speaking men and women living with HIV in care at a large academic HIV clinic in the northwestern United States. Thematic analysis indicated participants expressed initial fear about C&GT research. They articulated specific concerns about risks, including analytical treatment interruptions, and thought only a person in desperate straits would participate. They voiced significant mistrust of research in general and believed there was already a cure from HIV that was being withheld from the poor. Overall, they were satisfied with their health and quality of life on antiretroviral therapy. These findings suggest the importance of community engagement and educational efforts about C&GT for HIV cure to ensure optimal collaborative partnerships.

Keywords: HIV cure research; HIV/AIDS; acceptability; cell and gene therapy; people living with HIV; qualitative research; sociobehavioral sciences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biological Therapy / methods
  • Biological Therapy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / therapy*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Northwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Qualitative Research