Hepatitis C vaccine clinical trials among people who use drugs: Potential for participation and involvement in recruitment

April M. Young, Dustin B. Stephens, Hanan A. Khaleel, Jennifer R. Havens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Candidate prophylactic HCV vaccines are approaching phase III clinical trial readiness, yet little is known about the potential for participation among target groups or innovative ways to promote enrollment within 'hard-to-reach' populations. This study describes HCV vaccine trial participation willingness among a high-risk sample of people who use drugs and their willingness to assist researchers by promoting the trial among peers. Willingness to participate in and encourage peers' participation in an HCV vaccine trial was assessed among injection and non-injection drug users enrolled in a cohort study in Kentucky using interviewer-administered questionnaires (n = 165 and 415, respectively, with willingness to participate assessed among HCV-seronegative participants only). Generalized linear mixed models were used to determine correlates to being "very likely" to participate or encourage participation in a trial. Most reported being likely to participate or encourage participation in a vaccine trial (63% and 87%, respectively). Men were significantly less likely to report willingness to encourage others' participation, while willingness to encourage was higher among lower income, HCV-seropositive, heroin-using, and methamphetamine-using participants. Unemployment, lesser education, receipt of financial support from more peers, and nonmedical prescription drug use were positively associated with willingness to participate. Differential enrollment in HCV vaccine clinical trials by socioeconomic status may occur, underscoring ethical considerations and need for avoiding coercion. Notably, the data suggest that a peer-driven approach to promoting trial participation among people who use drugs could be feasible in this population and that HCV-seropositive individuals and women could be especially instrumental in these efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Inc.


  • Clinical trial
  • Drug users
  • Hepatitis C
  • Injection drug use
  • Social network
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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