Ethics of HIV cure research: an unfinished agenda [Book Review]

BMC Medical Ethics 22 (1):1-14 (2021)
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BackgroundThe pursuit of a cure for HIV is a high priority for researchers, funding agencies, governments and people living with HIV. To date, over 250 biomedical studies worldwide are or have been related to discovering a safe, effective, and scalable HIV cure, most of which are early translational research and experimental medicine. As HIV cure research increases, it is critical to identify and address the ethical challenges posed by this research.MethodsWe conducted a scoping review of the growing HIV cure research ethics literature, focusing on articles published in English peer-reviewed journals from 2013 to 2021. We extracted and summarized key developments in the ethics of HIV cure research. Twelve community advocates actively engaged in HIV cure research provided input on this summary and suggested areas warranting further ethical inquiry and foresight via email exchange and video conferencing.DiscussionDespite substantial scholarship related to the ethics of HIV cure research, additional attention should focus on emerging issues in six categories of ethical issues: social value ; scientific validity ; fair selection of participants ; favorable benefit/risk balance ; informed consent ; and respect for enrolled participants and community.ConclusionHIV cure research ethics has an unfinished agenda. Scientific research and bioethics should work in tandem to advance ethical HIV cure research. Because the science of HIV cure research will continue to rapidly advance, ethical considerations of the major themes we identified will need to be revisited and refined over time.



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