Challenges facing researchers conducting clinical trials in HIV prevention in South Africa: a focus on adherence
In clinical trials, adherence of the participants to the dosing instructions is a major challenge. Many researchers have identified medication adherence as a topic to further explore in order to obtain good, usable and reproducible results. In order to gain an understanding of on-the-ground issues in clinical research a survey was conducted, isolating the issue of medication adherence among participants as a discussion point. The research was conducted specifically at clinical trial sites that are involved in HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis research. The survey was conducted at clinical trial sites across South Africa among health care workers in the clinical research sector. The principle issue to be identified was the perceptions of staff and researchers with regards to the current approach to adherence measurement and possible suggestions from them on future adherence interventions strategies. This research was conducted as a qualitative analysis from February to March 2014. Eighteen responses were received. Among the respondents were investigators, medical officers, nurses and pharmacists. The results of the survey suggest that healthcare workers have a strong understanding of the importance adherence monitoring and intervention. They have many ideas on which measurement tools work and which don’t, but most importantly feel that the self-report or interview techniques are the most useful. Researchers also feel that much more can be done in order to improve the perception of the clinical research institutes in the eyes of the community and that a more active role should be taken in the community in order to improve the acceptance of the participants to the use of the product.