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Nearly 25% of People Would Risk Death for HIV Cure

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A new study has revealed what lengths people living with HIV are willing to go in order to find a cure. 

According to the study "HIV Cure Research," nearly one-quarter of those living with the virus were willing to risk "near-certain death in a clinical trial" if volunteering for that trial would help find a cure. 

Researchers interviewed 22 people living with HIV to assess the maximum level of risk they'd go for an HIV cure, further probing the reasoning behind these decisions and whether or not they thought heavy risks are offset by the benefits. 

Three example follow-up questions researchers asked interviewees were: "Can you tell me about your decision?" "Why did you not want to take greater risk?" and "Why not lest risk?" 

One interviewee who said they'd risk death, replied: "I am not going to live forever. It is about the next man, the next woman, and you have to have the mindset to care about people, which I do."

Another interviewee responded, "I'm willing to go the course for the cure and for the HIV community. I can't imagine how many people's lives would change if there was a cure." 

There have been few studies examining specific maximal risks participants might take during trials, but study authors note that despite doing well on antiretroviral therapy, "many people living with HIV have shown a willingness to accept substantial risks for an HIV cure." 

Given that a large minority of interviewees were willing to risk their lives for research, researchers believe additional ethical safeguards need to be implemented to ensure the safety of trial participants, which includes checking in on their own preferences and comfort levels. 

"We contend that people's expressed willingness to take substantial risk for an HIV cure should not be dismissed out of hand," authors concluded. 

Tags: Treatment, Stigma

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