Indexed on: 04 May '04Published on: 04 May '04Published in: Vaccine
Initial HIV vaccines are likely to be only partially efficacious; increased risk behaviors in response to future HIV vaccine availability have the potential to subvert the effectiveness of vaccines in controlling the AIDS epidemic. To assess attitudes, beliefs and behavioral intentions in response to hypothetical availability of FDA-approved HIV vaccines, we conducted 9 focus groups among participants (N = 99; median age = 33 years; 48% female; 22% African American, 44% Latino, 28% White) recruited from STD clinics, needle exchange programs, and Latino community based health organizations, using purposive, venue-based sampling, and interviewed 9 key informant service providers. Data were analyzed using narrative thematic analysis and Ethnograph qualitative software. Participants predicted a "lightening up" of safer sex behaviors among at least half of their peers and, to a lesser extent, a relaxing of safer needle use practices in response to HIV vaccine availability. Both participants and providers urged HIV preventive interventions that: (1) provide education and awareness regarding partial efficacy vaccines, (2) combat the belief in an HIV vaccine as a "magic bullet," and (3) stressed the need for sustained behavioral risk reduction interventions in the face of continued HIV risk and other STDs.