PUBLICATION: Willingness to participate in HIV vaccine efficacy trials among high risk men and women from fishing communities along Lake Victoria in Uganda

Aurthors: Asiki, G., A. Abaasa, E. Ruzagira, F. Kibengo, U. Bahemuka, J. Mulondo, J. Seeley, L. G. Bekker, S. Delany, P. Kaleebu and A. Kamali (2013).
Publication Category: Health and HIV in Lake Victoria Fishing Communities

HIV vaccine efficacy trials conducted in suitable populations are anticipated in sub-Saharan Africa. We assessed the willingness to participate in future vaccine trials among individuals from fishing communities along Lake Victoria, Uganda.

METHODS: From July to October 2012, we described a hypothetical vaccine trial to 328 (62.2% men) adults (18-49 years), at risk of HIV infection within 6 months of enrolment in a cohort and assessed their willingness to participate in the trial. Chi-square and logistic regression models were fitted to assess associations between vaccine trial attributes, participants' characteristics and willingness to participate.

RESULTS: Overall, 99.4% expressed willingness to participate in the hypothetical HIV vaccine trial. This decreased marginally with introduction of particular vaccine trial attributes. Delaying pregnancy for 10 months and large blood draw had the largest effects on reducing willingness to participate to 93.5% (p=0.02) and 94.5% (p=0.01) respectively. All the vaccine trial attributes in combination reduced willingness to participate to 90.6%.

This overall reduction in willingness to participate was significantly associated with gender and exchange of gifts for sex in multivariable analysis; women were more than three times as likely to have expressed unwillingness to participate in future vaccine trials as men (aOR=3.4, 95% CI: 1.55, 7.33) and participants who never received gifts in exchange for sex were more than four times as likely to have expressed unwillingness as those who received gifts for sex (aOR=4.5; 95%CI 1.30, 16.70). The main motivators of participation were access to HIV counselling and testing services (31.9%), HIV education (18.0%), hope of being prevented from acquiring HIV (16.6%) and health care (12.5%).

CONCLUSION: Our study identifies an important population for inclusion in future HIV prevention trials and provides important insights into acceptability of trial procedures, differences in decisions of women and men and areas for further participant education.

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