Last updated on August 2018

Effectiveness & Implementation of a Behavioral Intervention for Adherence and Substance Use in HIV Care in South Africa


Brief description of study

The purpose of this study is to test the effectiveness and implementation of a brief, integrated behavioral intervention for HIV medication adherence and substance use in the HIV care setting in South Africa. The intervention is specifically designed to be implemented by non-specialist counselors using a task sharing model in local HIV clinics. The behavioral intervention will be compared to usual care, enhanced with referral to a local outpatient substance use treatment program (Enhanced Standard of Care - ESOC) on study endpoints (as described in study endpoint section below).

Detailed Study Description

The HIV epidemic in South Africa (SA) is among the highest in the world. SA has a large antiretroviral therapy (ART) program, but some individuals exhibit poor ART adherence, which increases the likelihood of developing drug resistance and failing the only available first and second line ART regimens in SA. ART nonadherence contributes to greater morbidity, mortality, and higher likelihood of sexual HIV transmission when virus is detectable. At the same time, alcohol and other drug use is prevalent among HIV-infected individuals in SA and associated with worse ART adherence, lower rates of viral suppression, and HIV transmission risk behavior. Yet, despite the impact of untreated substance use on poor HIV treatment outcomes and continued HIV transmission, there is little if any integration of substance use and HIV care services in SA, which creates a fragmented and incomplete system of care. This study had three phases, first being formative, qualitative work which led to a systematic treatment adaptation phase. This third phase, the clinical trial, is based on this formative work and other empirical support using behavioral interventions to improve ART adherence and reduce substance use in resource-limited settings, including SA. This study is a Type 1 hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial of a lay counselor-delivered behavioral intervention for adherence and substance use integrated into the HIV primary care setting in SA. To ensure that those who need this intervention most will receive it, participants will be patients with HIV who are struggling with adherence (as defined in the investigator's inclusion criteria) and who have an elevated substance use risk.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03529409

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University of Maryland

College Park, MD United States
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University of Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa
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Recruitment Status: Open


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