Increasing Engagement and Improving HIV Outcomes Via HealthMPowerment

  • End date
    Aug 1, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Pennsylvania
Updated on 25 March 2022
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Accepts healthy volunteers


The overall goal of this 3-arm randomized trial is to test whether a network-driven online intervention tailored for intersectional stigma amelioration can elicit online social support, promote intervention engagement, and mitigate the impact of multiple stigmas on HIV-related outcomes among young Black and/or Latino men who have sex with men and transgender women.


Multiple stigmas related to sexuality, race, and HIV infection negatively impact HIV testing, engagement in HIV care, and consistent viral suppression (VS) among young Black or Latino men who have sex with men and transgender women (YBLMT). At present, few interventions have addressed the effects of intersectional stigma among people living with HIV and HIV affected populations. This study tests whether an online intervention tailored for intersectional stigma amelioration can elicit online social support, promote intervention engagement, and mitigate the impact of multiple stigmas on HIV-related outcomes. This study will recruit and enroll 1,050 young (ages 15-29), racially and ethnically diverse men who have sex with men and transgender women affected by HIV across the United States. Using a HIV-status stratified randomized trial design, participants will be assigned into one of three conditions (information-only control, a researcher-driven social network intervention, or a peer-driven social network intervention). Behavioral assessments will occur at baseline, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months; biomarkers (viral load) are scheduled for baseline, 6 and 12 months. The primary outcome is stratified by HIV status and defined as successful engagement in care (consistent VS for HIV-positive participants and routine testing for HIV-negative participants). The specific aims are: 1) Test whether an online intervention that promotes user-generated content and engagement to address intersectional stigma is associated with improvements in the HIV prevention and care continuum (HIV testing, antiretroviral adherence, VS) as compared to an information-only control arm; 2) Explore whether user engagement, as measured by quantitative and qualitative paradata, mediates the intervention's stigma- and HIV care-related outcomes; and, 3) Examine how changes in intersectional stigma and improvements across the HIV care continuum vary between the researcher-driven vs. peer-driven social network intervention conditions. The research study is innovative given its focus on intersectional stigma as a key target of intervention, and its ability to assess how different kinds of online social network structures influence participants' engagement over time, reduce experiences of intersectional stigma, and improve successful engagement in care. This research addresses a critical need to reduce the effects of multiple stigmas in a priority population using an intervention delivered through a highly appealing, widely-utilized technology. If effective, this form of stigma amelioration via online support can be broadly disseminated to reduce HIV transmission and improve care among YBLMT.

Condition HIV Infections, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Stigma, Social
Treatment Social Support, HIV testing, Information Resources, Information Resources
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03678181
SponsorUniversity of Pennsylvania
Last Modified on25 March 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Ages 15-29 (inclusive)
Identify as Black/African American and/or Latino/Hispanic
Be U.S. residents (verified by zip code)
Report at least one episode of condomless anal sex act with a man in prior 6 months
Assigned male sex at birth
Currently identifies as male or as woman
Have access to internet
Reports owning or having regular access to a smartphone device or laptop/tablet through which to log onto the study site

Exclusion Criteria

Assigned female sex at birth
Aged 14 years or younger or 30 years or older at time of screening
Does not speak or read English or Spanish
Did not have consensual anal sex with a male partner in the prior 6 months
Does not reside in the United States
Currently incarcerated
Planning to move out of the United States in next 12 months
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Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

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