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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNC: Participant Perspectives Should be at the Center of HIV Cure Research

Monitoring the psychosocial experiences of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a key recommendation for conducting clinical trials where participants will have interruptions in antiretroviral therapy (ART). This new development is influenced in part by the contributions of a social scientist at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Dr. Karine Dubé assistant professor in the Public Health Leadership Program at the Gillings School, is a co-author of the paper, “Recommendations for analytical antiretroviral treatment interruptions in HIV research trials — report of a consensus meeting,” which was published online March 15 in Lancet HIV.

Despite the success of ART, HIV infection remains a chronic disease that long-term ART alone cannot eliminate. While scientists search for ways to attain viral suppression without ART, clinical trial participants must often experience analytical treatment interruptions (ATI) so novel therapeutics can be tested.

On July 9, 2018, Dr. Dubé joined 40 experts in HIV research and industry from around the world at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), MIT and Harvard to assess the scientific value, risks, benefits and methods of ATIs, including the ethical and community perspectives of these approaches.

“Our field needed to better understand the possible benefits and risks of ATIs, when to reinstate ART, and how to monitor participants’ experiences and informed consent,” said Dr. Dubé, who has a growing body of research around participant perspectives in HIV cure research efforts. “As a social scientist, my contribution was to make sure we had included in our recommendations the need for monitoring the psychosocial trajectory of participants.”

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