Even when facing potential risks, many HIV-positive people are quite interested in participating in research of potential cures for the virus. Publishing their findings in HIV Medicine, researchers recruited 982 people living with HIV through HIV-related websites, advocacy forums, social media outlets and 12 United Kingdom HIV clinics to complete a survey about cure research participation.

Eighty-seven percent of the participants were male, 79 percent were white and 81 percent were men who have sex with men. Fifty-one percent were between 25 and 44 years old, and 69 percent lived in the United Kingdom. The median time since the participants had been diagnosed with HIV was seven years. Eighty-eight percent of the participants were on treatment for the virus, and 91 percent said they had an undetectable viral load.

In general, participating in cure research was “highly acceptable” to the participants.

Reasons for wanting to participate in cure research included achieving improvements in their health and well-being (96 percent cited this), becoming unable to transmit the virus (90 percent) and testing HIV negative (69 percent).

Those who had a CD4 count of 201 to 350 were 2.11 times more likely to say they would accept risks related to participating in cure research compared with those with at least 350 CD4s. Those with limited knowledge of HIV were 42 percent less likely to accept such risks compared with those with excellent or good knowledge of HIV. And those who were 65 and older were 82 percent less likely to accept such risks compared with those who were 45 to 64 years old.

Sixty-two percent of the participants said they would be willing to interrupt antiretroviral treatment during a cure study. Their main concerns about doing so were becoming unwell (82 percent reported this), becoming infectious (76 percent) and the virus spreading through their body (76 percent).

To read the study abstract, click here.