Publication Details

Chimoyi, L., Kamndaya, M., Venables, E., Von Knorring, N., Stadler, J., MacPhail, C., Chersich, M. F., Rees, H. & Delany-Moretlwe, S. (2017). Using surrogate vaccines to assess feasibility and acceptability of future HIV vaccine trials in men: A randomised trial in inner-city Johannesburg, South Africa. BMC Public Health, 17 (Supplement 3), 113-122.


Background: Developing an effective HIV vaccine is the overriding priority for HIV prevention research. Enrolling and maintaining cohorts of men into HIV vaccine efficacy trials is a necessary prerequisite for the development and licensure of a safe and efficacious vaccine. Methods: One hundred-fifty consenting HIV-negative men were enrolled into a pilot 1:1 randomised controlled trial of immediate vaccination with a three-dose hepatitis B vaccine compared to deferred vaccination (at 12 months) to investigate feasibility and acceptability of a future HIV vaccine trial in this population. Adverse events, changes in risk behaviour, acceptability of trial procedures and motivations for participation in future trials were assessed. Results: Men were a median 25 years old (inter-quartile range = 23-29), 53% were employed, 90% secondary school educated and 67% uncircumcised. Of the 900 scheduled study visits, 90% were completed in the immediate vaccination arm (405/450) and 88% (396/450) in the delayed arm (P = 0.338). Acceptability of trial procedures and services was very high overall. However, only 65% of the deferred group strongly liked being randomised compared to 90% in the immediate group (P = 0.001). Informed consent processes were viewed favourably by 92% of the delayed and 82% of the immediate group (P = 0.080). Good quality health services, especially if provided by a male nurse, were rated highly. Even though almost all participants had some concern about the safety of a future HIV vaccine (98%), the majority were willing to participate in a future trial. Future trial participation would be motivated mainly by the potential for accessing an effective vaccine (81%) and altruism (75%), rather than by reimbursement incentives (2%). Conclusions: Recruitment and retention of men into vaccine trials is feasible and acceptable in our setting. Findings from this surrogate vaccine trial show a high willingness to participate in future HIV vaccine trials. While access to potentially effective vaccines is important, quality health services are an equally compelling incentive for enrolment.



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