What motivates or demotivates injecting drug users to participate in hypothetical HIV vaccine efficacy trials? A qualitative study from urban Tanzania

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Masunga K Iseselo
Edith AM Tarimo
Eric Sandstrom
Asli Kulane


Background: HIV vaccine efficacy trials require the active participation of volunteers who are committed and adherent to the study protocol. However, information about the influence of Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) to participate in HIV vaccine efficacy trials in low-income countries is inadequate. The present study explored the factors that motivate or hinder IDUs from participating in HIV vaccine efficacy trials in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Methods: A qualitative descriptive study design was employed among IDUs at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH). A purposeful sampling technique was used to recruit the participants. Three (3) focus group discussions (FGDs) and 10 In-Depth Interviews (IDIs) were used to collect the data. The data from participants were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed using the content analysis approach.
Findings: The participants reported that altruism and the desire to reduce risks of HIV infection were the motivators to participate in hypothetical HIV vaccine trials. In addition, participants reported to consult close relatives towards motivation to participate in the vaccine trial. In contrast, the perceived fear of vaccine side effects, lack of information about HIV vaccine studies, and HIV-related stigma towards participants were described as barriers to participate in the HIV vaccine trials.
Conclusion: Participation in a hypothetical HIV vaccine trial among IDUs is influenced by positive and negative factors. Actual recruitment plans could be made through a better explanation of HIV vaccine trials, the expected individual and collective benefits associated with the trials. Community involvement and sensitisation is likely to enhance participation in future HIV vaccine trials in Tanzania.

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