Research on HIV cure: Mapping the ethics landscape

PLoS Medicine
(Accessed 9 December 2017)

Research on HIV cure: Mapping the ethics landscape
Karine Dubé, Laurie Sylla, Lynda Dee, Jeff Taylor, David Evans, Carl Dean Bruton, Adam Gilberston, Lisa Gralinski, Brandon Brown, Asheley Skinner, Bryan J. Weiner, Sandra B. Greene, Amy Corneli, Adaora A. Adimora, Joseph D. Tucker, Stuart Rennie
| published 08 Dec 2017 PLOS Medicine
Summary points
:: According to current estimates, 36.7 million people are infected with HIV worldwide. Despite large-scale and growing programs to prevent and treat HIV infection, possible approaches to achieve a cure for HIV infection are of strong interest.
:: In the development of candidate approaches to achieve an HIV cure, issues of future translation to human study participants, evidence-based practice, clinical care, diverse populations, and populations in low- and middle-income countries should all be considered.
: An HIV cure should be effective, safe, simple, affordable, and scalable.
:: Acceptability research is a critical adjunct to ongoing biomedical HIV cure research efforts.
:: Anticipating some of the ethical and implementation challenges related to HIV cure strategies is necessary before the availability of effective interventions.
:: Ongoing engagement of stakeholders is needed to resolve ethical, logistical, social, cultural, policy, regulatory, and implementation challenges at all stages of the HIV cure research development process.
Tremendous human, financial, and social capital is being invested in the discovery of an HIV cure. For an HIV cure regimen to prove valuable, it should be effective, safe, simple, affordable, and scalable [29]. It should also be translatable to human study participants, evidence-based practice, clinical care, and diverse populations. Appreciating the inherent translational ethics issues across the entire research continuum is essential, as HIV cure discoveries must eventually translate to real-world implementation. In this paper, we reviewed some of the considerations at each step of the HIV cure translation and implementation continuum; the issues described are not comprehensive. We asserted that an ethics of translation should begin early in the HIV cure discovery effort, before the availability of efficacious interventions. Logistical, social, cultural, and economic issues will affect the implementation of HIV cure research and interventions at the individual, institutional, national, and global levels. Ongoing community and stakeholder engagement efforts will be crucial to foresee, negotiate, and resolve potential ethical and implementation challenges. Innovative translational and implementation research paradigms utilized at all phases of the HIV cure research continuum will permit us to address critical issues that will ultimately help leverage cutting-edge HIV cure research discoveries to benefit PLWHIV around the globe.