Gay and bisexual men’s perceptions of the donation and use of human biological samples for research: a qualitative study

Patterson, C. , McDaid, L. M. and Hilton, S. (2015) Gay and bisexual men’s perceptions of the donation and use of human biological samples for research: a qualitative study. PLoS ONE, 10(6), e0129924. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0129924) (PMID:26053741) (PMCID:PMC4459996)

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Abstract

Human biological samples (biosamples) are increasingly important in diagnosing, treating and measuring the prevalence of illnesses. For the gay and bisexual population, biosample research is particularly important for measuring the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By determining people’s understandings of, and attitudes towards, the donation and use of biosamples, researchers can design studies to maximise acceptability and participation. In this study we examine gay and bisexual men’s attitudes towards donating biosamples for HIV research. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 46 gay and bisexual men aged between 18 and 63 recruited in commercial gay scene venues in two Scottish cities. Interview transcripts were analysed thematically using the framework approach. Most men interviewed seemed to have given little prior consideration to the issues. Participants were largely supportive of donating tissue for medical research purposes, and often favourable towards samples being stored, reused and shared. Support was often conditional, with common concerns related to: informed consent; the protection of anonymity and confidentiality; the right to withdraw from research; and ownership of samples. Many participants were in favour of the storage and reuse of samples, but expressed concerns related to data security and potential misuse of samples, particularly by commercial organisations. The sensitivity of tissue collection varied between tissue types and collection contexts. Blood, urine, semen and bowel tissue were commonly identified as sensitive, and donating saliva and as unlikely to cause discomfort. To our knowledge, this is the first in-depth study of gay and bisexual men’s attitudes towards donating biosamples for HIV research. While most men in this study were supportive of donating tissue for research, some clear areas of concern were identified. We suggest that these minority concerns should be accounted for to develop inclusive, evidence-informed research protocols that balance collective benefits with individual concerns.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McDaid, Professor Lisa and Hilton, Professor Shona and Patterson, Mr Christopher
Authors: Patterson, C., McDaid, L. M., and Hilton, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN:1932-6203
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 10(6):e0129924
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
656611Understanding and Use of Public Health ResearchShona HiltonMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/6IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
656571Sexual Health and Families ProgrammeLisa McdaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/2IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727631SPHSU Core Renewal: Relationships & Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/11IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU