Adolescent barriers to HIV prevention research: are parental consent requirements the biggest obstacle?

SOURCE: Journal of Adolescent Health
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.K.Shah, ZEssack, K.Byron, C.Slack, D.Reirden, H.Van Rooyen, N.R.Jones, D.S.Wendler
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC), Impact Centre (IC), Impact Centre (PRESS), Impact Centre (CC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11441
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/15350

If you would like to obtain a copy of this Research Output, please contact Hanlie Baudin at


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. 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. 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