e-SMART/EST HIV Telehealth Intervention (eSMARTEST)

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Updated on 7 October 2022
behavior therapy
depressed mood


The goal of this project is to adapt an evidence-based, enhanced cognitive-behavioral stress management intervention (CSBM+) to target depression among older HIV-positive women in the Bronx, New York. The intervention, "Stress Management and Relaxation Training/Expressive Supportive Therapy" (SMART/EST), demonstrated effectiveness in numerous iterations over 15+ years, including trials with racially diverse HIV-positive women. To meet changing community needs including moving behavioral interventions to telehealth, we will pilot test e-SMART/EST, a teletherapy adaptation with peer support for HIV+ older women.


HIV-positive older women are a neglected, high-risk population for depression. Depression is the most common psychiatric comorbidity for people living with HIV (PLWH), with prevalence between 20-40% and up to 78% in some cohorts. It has associations with lower CD4 (cluster of differentiation 4 - a type of white blood cell) count, higher viral load, reduced medication adherence, and AIDS-related and all-cause mortality. Among older people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), women are more likely than men to be depressed.

Group teletherapy is an efficacious modality to target depression, including among PLWHA, with improved retention and acceptability. To harness these innovations to improve outcomes for HIV+ older women, we will incorporate community feedback to refine and test an online adaption of SMART/EST, an empirically validated cognitive-behavioral stress management/expressive supportive therapy (CBSM+). SMART/EST is effective with HIV+ women and will likely be translated online given the proliferation of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) teletherapy groups. Results will inform secondary prevention with a growing generation of HIV+ older women.

The original, in-person intervention is a 16-session, two-hour weekly group using CBSM+ to target depression, medication adherence, nutrition, physical activity, harm reduction, smoking, and safer sex. e-SMART/EST will be online, condensed to 8 weekly 1-hour sessions, and will target depression. The study has two phases. In Phase 1, we will obtain scientific, community and expert advice from 8 community peer, scientific, and clinical advisors to adapt existent protocols. In Phase 2, we will conduct a pragmatic single group pre-post trial with 10 participants recruited from Montefiore's Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).

e-SMART/EST will be facilitated on MyChart by a Psychologist (PsyD) with prior experience developing the intervention, and co-facilitated by a community peer and Healthy Aging Specialist with 25+ years of experience in HIV programming. Participants will complete preand post-test surveys, as well as provide feedback about feasibility, adaptability, and recommendations to improve the intervention. Statistical analyses include paired-samples t-tests and adaptability/feasibility tests, as well as measures of fidelity.

Condition Hiv, Depression
Treatment Stress Management and Relaxation Training/Expressive Supportive Therapy (SMART/EST)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05278572
SponsorAlbert Einstein College of Medicine
Last Modified on7 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Age 55+
Teletherapy access
Depression in last 12 months
Fluent in English

Exclusion Criteria

HIV-negative or HIV-unknown
Younger than 55 years old
Lack of depression in last 12 months
Non-fluent in English
Opioid use disorder in last 12 months
Psychotic disorder in last 12 months
Clear my responses

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