Hybrid STTR intervention for heterosexuals using anonymous HIV testing and confidential linkage to care: A single arm exploratory trial using respondent-driven sampling

Marya Gwadz, Charles M. Cleland, Noelle R. Leonard, Alexandra Kutnick, Amanda S. Ritchie, Angela Banfield, Holly Hagan, David C. Perlman, Talaya McCright-Gill, Dawa Sherpa, Belkis Y. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: An estimated 14 % of the 1.2 million individuals living with HIV in the U.S. are unaware of their status. Yet this modest proportion of individuals with undiagnosed HIV is linked to 44-66 % of all new infections. Thus innovative intervention approaches are needed to seek out and test those with undiagnosed HIV, and link them to HIV treatment with high retention, an approach referred to as "Seek, Test, Treat, and Retain" (STTR). The present protocol describes a creative "hybrid" STTR approach that uses anonymous HIV testing followed by confidential care linkage, focused on heterosexuals at high risk (HHR) for HIV, who do not test as frequently as, and are diagnosed later, than other risk groups. Methods/Design: This is a single-arm exploratory intervention efficacy trial. The study has two phases: one to seek out and test HHR, and another to link those found infected to HIV treatment in a timely fashion, with high retention. We will recruit African American/Black and Latino adult HHR who reside in urban locations with high poverty and HIV prevalence. Participants will be recruited with respondent-driven sampling, a peer recruitment method. The "Seek and Test" phase is comprised of a brief, convenient, single-session, anonymous HIV counseling and testing session. The "Treat and Retain" component will engage those newly diagnosed with HIV into a confidential research phase and use a set of procedures called care navigation to link them to HIV primary care. Participants will be followed for 6 months with objective assessment of outcomes (using medical records and biomarkers). Discussion: Undiagnosed HIV infection is a major public health problem. While anonymous HIV testing is an important part of the HIV testing portfolio, it does not typically include linkage to care. The present study has potential to produce an innovative, brief, cost-effective, and replicable STTR intervention, and thereby reduce racial/ethnic disparities in HIV/AIDS. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02421159, Registered April 15, 2015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1133
JournalBMC public health
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 16 2015

Keywords

  • African American
  • Anonymous HIV testing
  • Health status disparities
  • Heterosexuals
  • Latino
  • Undiagnosed HIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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