Purpose: One third of people newly living with HIV/AIDS are adolescents. Research on adolescent HIV prevention is critical owing to differences between adolescents and adults. Parental permission requirements are often considered a barrier to adolescent enrollment in research, but whether adolescents view this barrier as the most important one is unclear. Methods: Adolescents were approached in schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and at a sexually transmitted infection clinic at the Children's Hospital of Aurora, Colorado. Surveys with a hypothetical vignette about participation in a pre-exposure prophylaxis trial were conducted on smartphones or tablets with 75 adolescents at each site. We calculated descriptive statistics for all variables, using 2-sample tests for equality of proportions with continuity correction. Statistical significance was calculated at p < 0.05. Multivariate analyses were also conducted. Results: Most adolescents thought side effects (77%) and parental consent requirements (69%) were very important barriers to research participation. When asked to rank barriers, adolescents did not agree on a single barrier as most important, but the largest group of adolescents ranked parental consent requirements as most important (29.5%). Parental consent was seen as more of a barrier for adolescents in South Africa than in the United States. Concerns about being experimented on or researchers’ mandatory reporting to authorities were ranked much lower. Finally, most (71%, n = 106) adolescents said they would want to extra support from another adult if parental permission was not required. Conclusion: Adolescents consider both parental permission requirements and side effects important barriers to their enrollment in HIV prevention research. Legal reform and better communication strategies may help address these barriers.
- Barriers to research
- HIV prevention research
- Parental permission
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health