The Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDs Interventions awarded an Indiana University researcher $1.1 million to examine the ethical difficulties of involving adolescents aged 14 to 17 years at high risk for HIV in biomedical prevention trials, according to a press release.
“The U.S. rates of HIV have been declining over time among most groups, but there is a persistent epidemic among young men who have sex with men,” Amelia Knopf, PhD, MPH, RN, reward recipient and an assistant professor of nursing at Indiana University, said in the release.
Americans aged younger than 25 years’ account for more than 1 in 5 new HIV infections, with 35% of new global HIV infections attributed to those aged 15 to 24 years. According to Knopf, these HIV infection rates highlight the need to understand issues concerning the requirement that adolescents receive parental permission to participate in HIV prevention trials. Knopf believes exploring these issues will lead to improved recruitment and enrollment in HIV prevention trials among teens.
Although new tools for HIV prevention exist among adults, they have not been approved for use with teens due to obstacles, like parental consent, involved in enrolling teens in the types of trials that lead to the approval of new drugs or preventions, Knopf noted.
“If they are not willing to participate in a trial if their parents’ permission is required, we want to better understand what their concerns are, and if they’re willing we want to understand, from a research perspective, if that is a conversation we could help facilitate,” Knopf added.
Knopf and colleagues aim to better understand how parents of youth who are at risk for HIV view the prospect of not being involved in the consent process and to determine how willing the teens are to engage their parents in the consent process for enrollment in a clinical trial. Study findings will inform the design of future biomedical trials as “we get closer and closer to an HIV vaccine and other biomedical approaches that will need to be tested in adolescents before they can be used with this high-risk group,” Knopf said. – by Savannah Demko
Disclosure: Infectious Disease News was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.