In-depth interviews from 59 women living with HIV revealed that many women preferred long-acting injectable antiretroviral therapy for its convenience, privacy, and perceived effectiveness.
A study, which utilized in-depth behavioral interview data, found that women with HIV who have not participated in clinical trials preferred long-acting injectable (LAI) antiretroviral therapy (ART) over daily pill regimens.
The study, published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, asserted that, although maintaining regimented ART is critical for viral suppression and reducing transmission, many individuals living with HIV have found it challenging to sustain long-term adherence.
The multi-site study included interviews with 59 women who were not included in LAI ART clinical trials, but who receive care at university settings that will administer LAI ART once it is approved; the 6 Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) sites were located in New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chapel Hill, and San Francisco.
The behavioral study was centered around women outside clinical trials.The in-depth interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed through thematic content analysis.
Results of the study showed that the majority of women “enthusiastically endorsed” monthly LAI ART and expressed preference for this form of viral suppression over daily pills.
The study also cited the reasons for the preference of LAI ART over pills. Reasons included convenience and confidentiality, avoiding daily reminders about living with HIV, and believing that shots are more effective than pills.
Researchers additionally noted the challenges of LAI ART identified in the interviews: medical mistrust, concerns about safety and effectiveness, pill burden for HIV and other conditions,and barriers to additional medical visits.
The study’s authors pointed to the importance of continuing to pursue this field of inquiry: “Future research should incorporate more women into LAI ART trials in order to better understand and align development with user concerns and preferences in order to enhance uptake,” they wrote.
1. Philbin MM, Parish C, Kinnard EN, et al. A multi-site study of women living with HIV’s perceived barriers to, and interest in, long-acting injectable anti-retroviral therapy. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. 2020; doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000002337.
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