Project nGage: Network Supported HIV Care Engagement for Younger Black Men Who Have Sex with Men and Transgender Persons.

Published: August 31, 2013

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Young Black men who have sex with men and transgender persons (YBMSMT) aged 13-29 carry the nation’s highest burden of new HIV infections. Studies indicate that YBMSMT have poor retention in care, which is associated with reduced medication adherence and increased virologic failure.
OBJECTIVE:
Project nGage is a randomized controlled (RCT) trial evaluating the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a brief, dyadic intervention designed to promote adherence to HIV primary care in safety-net clinics. Network visualization is used to identify and engage a support confidant (SC) from participants’ social networks. A social work interventionist then meets with the SC and SC-participant dyad to activate and maintain HIV-specific social support.
METHODS:
Project nGage is operating in two phases. In Phase I, the Team refined study protocols based on pilot testing. In Phase II, 94 HIV infected YBMSMT ages 16-29 will be recruited, enrolled and randomly assigned to receive Project nGage or treatment as usual (TAU). The primary outcome is appointment attendance; the secondary outcomes are medication adherence and viral load.
RESULTS:
Implementation challenges include coordinating sites, managing dyadic intervention logistics, and recruiting non-adherent patients or those who have fallen out of care. The team continues to address implementation issues as the study progresses.
CONCLUSIONS:
Project nGage is addressing a gap in HIV care-related research by focusing on supportive relationships as a mechanism through which to promote retention in care. Pending study results, a larger RCT would compare the relative effectiveness of the Project nGage intervention versus TAU over 18 to 24 months.

Leave a Reply