Representations and Willingness of People Living With HIV in Switzerland to Participate in HIV Cure Trials: The Case of Gene-Modified Cell Therapies

Ingrid Gilles, Saphir Lesage, Charlotte Barbieux, David Jackson-Perry, Marco Alessandrini, Lucie Vittoz, Isabelle Peytremann-Bridevaux, Alexandra Calmy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent advances made in cell and gene therapies for cancer suggest that they represent plausible strategies to cure HIV. However, the health risks and constraints associated with these therapies require a deeper understanding of the expectations of such treatments among people living with HIV (PLWH).

We conducted 15 semistructured in-depth interviews among patients from 2 HIV units in Switzerland. After a conversation about their perceptions of research on HIV therapies, participants were provided with a trial description using a gene-modified cell therapy as a potentially curative approach. They were invited to discuss how they might consider participation in the trial. Content analysis was performed to identify core themes.

Participants perceived the trial as burdensome and uncertain. Most were aware that cure was not guaranteed, and 6 of the 15 considered that they would participate. Two main concerns were expressed about potential participation: (1) the impact on the professional life and fear to be stigmatized because of this and (2) the fact that stopping antiretroviral treatment would challenge the balance currently achieved in their lives. The decision to participate would depend on their understanding of the trial, the availability of sufficient information, and the relationship with health care professionals.

Involving PLWH in early stages of research would be crucial to improve their understanding of gene-modified cell therapies. It could also help adapt trials to address key factors, including the anticipation of stigma, which may discourage PLWH from participating in treatment research
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1154-1160
JournalJAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number5
Early online date16 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Representations and Willingness of People Living With HIV in Switzerland to Participate in HIV Cure Trials: The Case of Gene-Modified Cell Therapies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this