Risk to Nonparticipants in HIV Remission Studies With Treatment Interruption: A Symposium

J Infect Dis. 2019 Jul 2;220(220 Suppl 1):S1-S4. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz173.


Ethical guidelines and recommendations for human subjects research typically focus on protecting the individuals who directly participate in that research. However, additional people, including sex partners of research participants, can also face harms and burdens from medical studies. In human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cure-related research, a persistent ethical and practical challenge surrounds the use of analytical antiretroviral treatment interruptions. The challenge is usually discussed in relation to risks to study participants, but serious dangers accrue to nonparticipants, including sex partners of study participants. This multidisciplinary supplement relays the risks for nonparticipating sex partners in HIV cure-related studies and addresses the ethical dilemmas raised by these studies, with recommendations for researchers, advocates, sponsors, and oversight bodies.

Keywords: HIV; HIV cure-related studies; analytic treatment interruption; immunotherapy; pre-exposure prophylaxis; research ethics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Duration of Therapy
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Remission Induction*
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Partners*


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents