The Journey into the Meaning of an HIV Cure for People Living with HIV
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Background: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a rapidly mutating retrovirus that can affect the immune system to such an extent that it can have life-threatening consequences. However, nowadays, people living with HIV (PLHIV) can live as long as someone without HIV due to medication. The virus is treatable, but researchers are still looking for a cure for PLHIV. At the same time, little research has been done on what PLHIV consider a cure and, more importantly, whether they want to be cured. Objective: This research aims to determine what PLHIV’s views are about an HIV cure. Methods: Twelve PLHIV were recruited in April-May 2021 through the Dutch HIV Association and HIV counselor(s). Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted. This study uses thematic analysis to analyze the interviews. Results: Thematic analyses revealed three levels of central themes and several sub-themes which reflect the conception of PLHIV: (i) views of PLHIV about a cure; (ii) reasons for a cure (stigma, changes in their lives, and side effects); (iii) concerns about an HIV cure for PLHIV in The Netherlands. Conclusions: This study concluded that PLHIV suggests that PLHIV want to be cured because they would experience less stigma and fewer side effects of medication. Therefore their quality of life (QoL) will increase. Furthermore, a sterilizing cure is considered a cure. However, PLHIV have concerns about the cure procedure, and they have doubts about their personal health level, and the process of an HIV cure will affect their health.