‘What Do I Know? Should I Participate?’ Considerations on Participation in HIV Related Research among HIV Infected Adults in Bangalore, South India

Rodrigues, Rashmi J.; Antony, Jimmy; Krishnamurthy, Shubha; Shet, Anita; De Costa, Ayesha
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Background: India has the highest number of HIV infected persons in the world after South Africa. Much HIV related behavioral, clinical and laboratory based research is ongoing in India. Yet little is known on Indian HIV patients' knowledge of research, their processes of decision making and motives for participation. We aimed to explore these areas among HIV infected individuals to understand their reasons for participating in research. Methodology/Principal Findings: This is a cross sectional survey among 173 HIV infected adults at a tertiary level hospital in Bangalore, India, done between October 2010 and January 2011. A pre-tested questionnaire was administered to the participants by trained research assistants to assess their knowledge regarding research, willingness to participate, decision making and determinants of participation. Participants were presented with five hypothetical HIV research studies. Each study had a different level of intervention and time commitment. Of respondents, 103(60%), said that research meant ‘to discover something new’ and 138(80%) were willing to participate in research. A third of the respondents were unaware of their right to refuse participation. Willingness to participate in research varied with level of intervention. It was the lowest for the hypothetical study involving sensitive questions followed by the hypothetical drug trial; and was the highest for the hypothetical cross sectional questionnaire based study (p<0.0015). Individual health benefits and altruism were the primary motives for participation in research and indicate the presence of therapeutic misconception. Women were less likely to make autonomous decisions for participation in interventional studies. Conclusions/Significance: Despite a majority willing to participate, over a third of respondents did not have any knowledge of research or the voluntary nature of participation. This has ethical implications. Researchers need to focus on enabling potential research participants understand the concepts of research, promote autonomous decisions, especially by women and restrict therapeutic misconception.


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