The HI v O pen Call on i nformed C onsent and e thics in Research (VOICE) for Adolescents and Young Adults: A Digital Crowdsourcing Open Call in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Suzanne Day, Kadija M. Tahlil, Sonam J. Shah, Lauren Fidelak, Erin C. Wilson, Seema K. Shah, Ucheoma Nwaozuru, Kelechi Chima, Chisom Obiezu-Umeh, Chido Dziva Chikwari, Tinashe Mwaturura, Nomsa Phiri, Abdulhammed Opeyemi Babatunde, Titilola Gbajabiamila, Stuart Rennie, Juliet Iwelunmor, Oliver Ezechi, Joseph D. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Many adolescents and young adults (AYAs; 10-24 years old) are excluded from HIV research because of social, ethical, and legal challenges with informed consent, resulting in limited AYA-focused data. We use a participatory approach to identify strategies for improving AYA consent processes in HIV research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Methods We conducted a digital crowdsourcing open call for ideas to improve AYA consent to HIV research in LMICs. Crowdsourcing involves engaging a group of people in problem-solving, then sharing emergent solutions. Submissions were evaluated by 3 independent judges using predefined criteria, with exceptional strategies receiving prizes. Demographic data were collected, and textual data were qualitatively analyzed for emergent themes in barriers and facilitators for improving AYA consent in HIV research, guided by a socioecological model. Results We received 110 strategies total; 65 were eligible for evaluation, 25 of which were identified as finalists. Fifty-eight participants from 10 LMICs submitted the 65 eligible submissions, of which 30 (52%) were 18 to 24 years old. Thematic analysis identified 10 barriers to AYA consent, including HIV stigma, limited education, and legal/regulatory barriers. Strategies for improving AYA consent processes revealed 7 potential facilitators: enhancing AYA engagement in research, involving parents/guardians, improving education/awareness, improving institutional practices/policy, making research participation more AYA-friendly, enhancing engagement of other key communities of interest, and empowering AYA. Conclusions Diverse communities of interest in LMICs developed compelling strategies to enhance informed consent that may improve AYA inclusion in HIV research. These data will be used to develop practical guidance on improving AYA consent processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-366
Number of pages8
JournalSexually transmitted diseases
Volume51
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2024

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