In general, women shared many of the same positive perceptions of long-acting ART that men did but offered unique insight.
Long-acting (LA) injectables could well be the future of antiretroviral therapy (ART), as it solves the issue of adherence posed by oral ART and could better align with patient preferences. Although LA cabotegravir + rilpivirine is currently in development and has demonstrated non-inferiority to daily oral ART in phase III trials, most of the trial participants have been men.
In a poster presented at IDWeek 2019, a team of investigators conducted in-depth interviews with people living with HIV and participating in the phase II and III LATTE-2, ATLAS, ATLAS 2-M, and FLAIR LA ART trials in the United States and Spain in order to evaluate women’s perceptions of and experiences with LA ART. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and coded using thematic content analysis. Results were analyzed by gender based on gender-specific emergent themes, and diversity and consensus in perceptions and experiences with LA ART.
Of the 80 participants interviewed, 15% (12/80) were women. In general, women shared many of the same positive perceptions of LA ART that men did but offered unique insight. The themes that emerged from the women’s interviews on LA ART included that it: 1) alleviates the need for them remember to take pills amid their busy day-to-day lives that involve multiple roles such as working full-time and raising children; 2) is less time-consuming than daily oral ART; 3) creates less stress and pressure than oral ART; and 4) is emotionally freeing and empowering.
“Similar to all participants, female participants had generally positive views of LA ART,” investigators concluded. “However, the gendered nature of their daily lives also led to some unique perspectives on why and how they were satisfied with LA ART that merits further exploration in future research.”
The study, Women's Perspectives on and Experiences with Long-acting Injectable Anti-retroviral Therapy in the United States and Spain: the Potential Role of Gender in Patient Preferences, was presented in a poster session on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at IDWeek in Washington, DC.