One of the concerns raised regarding the introduction of any new HIV-prevention measure, such as PrEP, is the potential for risk disinhibition or sexual risk compensation. The oral tenofovir HIV prevention trial has been the subject of international discussion in this regard.
This article maps the changes in sexual risk behavior among women participating in the oral tenofovir HIV prevention trial in Ghana. Content-driven, thematic analysis was carried out on qualitative data obtained from in-depth interviews with study participants. Growth curve analysis was the primary method used to document trends over time in self-reported sexual behavior collected monthly.
Overall, the study found that sexual risk behavior did not increase during the trial. Number of sexual partners and rate of unprotected sex acts decreased across the 12-month period of study enrollment. Certain subgroups of women, however, exhibited different growth curves. Data indicate that the HIV prevention counseling associated with the trial was effective.
Counseling during the trial was effective. Different types of counseling and messaging may be needed for different subgroups within a population. These findings also have implications for required sample sizes for future HIV prevention trials where seroconversion is the main outcome.
"In this study of participants in a trial of daily oral FTC/TDF PrEP, we found no evidence of risk compensation, a finding that is largely consistent with other HIV-prevention studies of PrEP, , , , , ,  male circumcision, , ,  vaccines,  and PEP. ,  There was an overall trend toward safer sexual behavior, which was supported by decreases in syphilis and HIV infection. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (FTC/TDF) reduced HIV acquisition in the iPrEx trial among men who have sex with men and transgender women. Self-reported sexual risk behavior decreased overall, but may be affected by reporting bias. We evaluated potential risk compensation using biomarkers of sexual risk behavior.
Sexual practices were assessed at baseline and quarterly thereafter; perceived treatment assignment and PrEP efficacy beliefs were assessed at 12 weeks. Among participants with ≥1 follow-up behavioral assessment, sexual behavior, syphilis, and HIV infection were compared by perceived treatment assignment, actual treatment assignment, and perceived PrEP efficacy.
Overall, acute HIV infection and syphilis decreased during follow-up. Compared with participants believing they were receiving placebo, participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF reported more receptive anal intercourse partners prior to initiating drug (12.8 vs. 7.7, P = 0.04). Belief in receiving FTC/TDF was not associated with an increase in receptive anal intercourse with no condom (ncRAI) from baseline through follow-up (risk ratio [RR] 0.9, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.6-1.4; P = 0.75), nor with a decrease after stopping study drug (RR 0.8, 95% CI: 0.5-1.3; P = 0.46). In the placebo arm, there were trends toward lower HIV incidence among participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 0.8, 95% CI: 0.4-1.8; P = 0.26) and also believing it was highly effective (IRR 0.5, 95% CI: 0.1-1.7; P = 0.12).
There was no evidence of sexual risk compensation in iPrEx. Participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF had more partners prior to initiating drug, suggesting that risk behavior was not a consequence of PrEP use.
PLoS ONE 12/2013; 8(12):e81997. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0081997 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Social and behavioral science research is integral to the conduct of HIV vaccine trials, especially because the vaccine targets an infection laden with sensitive human issues. Although social and behavioral sciences have played a larger role in HIV vaccine clinical trials than other vaccine clinical trials to date, this role should be expanded. Fortunately, related publications, conference coverage and research proposals are on the rise; community engagement is receiving more attention during the earlier stages of product development; and collaboration between HIV vaccine scientists and social and behavioral scientists is being fostered. Greater attention to social and behavioral science issues could not only facilitate accrual, but also improve research efficiency and relevance. In this review, gaps in the literature on social and behavioral science issues in HIV vaccine clinical research, including barriers and facilitators to trial participation, enhancing feasibility of trial success, health systems, policy and monitoring social and behavioral issues, are identified and directions are suggested for filling those gaps. Development of a safe, efficacious and acceptable HIV vaccine will be nurtured by addressing the gaps through interdisciplinary collaborations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Preventing HIV infection in adolescents and young adults will require a multimodal targeted approach, including individual-directed behavioral risk reduction, community-level structural change, and biomedical interventions to prevent sexual transmission. Trials testing biomedical interventions to prevent HIV transmission will require special attention in this population due to the unique psychosocial and physiologic characteristics that differentiate them from older populations. For example, microbicide research will need to consider acceptability, dosing requirements, and coinfection rates that are unique to this population. Preexposure prophylaxis studies also will need to consider potential unique psychosocial issues such as sexual disinhibition and acceptability as well as unique pharmacokinetic parameters of antiretroviral agents. Vaccine trials also face unique issues with this population, including attitudes toward vaccines, risks related to false-positive HIV tests related to vaccine, and different immune responses based on more robust immunity. In this article, we will discuss issues around implementing each of these biomedical prevention modalities in trials among adolescents and young adults to help to guide future successful research targeting this population.
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