With long-acting injectable antiretroviral therapy likely to be a treatment option for people living with HIV (PLWH), it is critical to assess its acceptability among potential end-users. Based on formative qualitative work and our own ongoing development of targeted long-acting products in nanosuspension formulations, we created eight hypothetical medication scenarios varying along six dichotomous attributes: administration location (home versus [vs.] clinic), dosing frequency (every 2 weeks vs. 1 week), injections per dose (one vs. two), injection pain (mild vs. moderate), injection site reaction (mild vs. moderate), and effectiveness (better vs. same as pills). PLWH from three outpatient care clinics in Seattle, WA and Riverside, CA rated acceptability (i.e., willingness to try each hypothetical medication) from 0 (very unlikely) to 100 (very likely). In conjoint analyses, we examined level and correlates of acceptability, the impact of each attribute on overall acceptability, and moderators of this effect. Participants (median age 52 years; 71% male, 34% White, 36% Black/African American, 20% Hispanic) rated acceptability of the 8 scenarios from 47.8 (standard deviation [SD] = 37.0) to 68.8 (SD = 34.1), with effectiveness (impact score = 7.3, SD = 18.7, p = 0.005) and dosing frequency (impact score = 5.7, SD = 19.6, p = 0.034) the only attributes with a significant impact on acceptability. There were no statistically significant differences in overall acceptability according to any participant socio-demographic or other characteristic; however, gender, education, employment status, and experience with and hatred/avoidance of injections moderated some effects. Overall acceptability for targeted long-acting antiretroviral treatment as proposed was modest, with superior effectiveness and lower dosing frequency most impactful on acceptability. Future acceptability research should continue to evaluate specific products in development with a full range of conjoint analytic and other techniques.
Keywords: Acceptability; Conjoint analysis; End-user preferences; HIV treatment; HIV/AIDS; Targeted long-acting injectable ART.