Longitudinal data were analyzed to determine changes in willingness to participate in HIV vaccine efficacy trials and knowledge of vaccine trial concepts among populations at high risk of HIV-1 infection. Gay men (MSM), male and female injection drug users, and non-injecting women at heterosexual risk were recruited (n = 4892). Follow-up visits occurred every 6 months up to 18 months. Willingness was significantly lower at follow-up visits compared with at baseline. Knowledge levels increased for all study populations. Problematic concepts were possible effects of the vaccine on the immune system and lack of knowledge about efficacy of a vaccine before the start of a trial. For concepts concerning safety, blinding, and guarantees of future participation in trials, MSM men had significant increases in knowledge, but little to no change occurred for the other populations. An increase in knowledge was associated with becoming not willing, particularly among MSM with low knowledge levels. At least half of high-risk participants were consistently willing to participate in future vaccine efficacy trials and with basic vaccine education, knowledge levels increased. Continued educational efforts at the community and individual level are needed to address certain vaccine trial concepts and to increase knowledge levels in all potential study populations.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Beryl A. Koblin, Laboratory of Epidemiology, The New York Blood Center, 310 East 67th Street, New York, NY 10021, U.S.A.
Manuscript received December 31, 1999; accepted June 9, 2000.
© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.