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Clinical Trial Summary

Men in sub-Saharan Africa who test HIV-positive continue to have poor ART initiation and retention outcomes. The proposed project will test a home-based ART intervention for men who are living with HIV compared to facility-based ART. Findings will provide essential information on how to best reach men across the testing and treatment continuum, a critical step to curbing the HIV epidemic.

Clinical Trial Description

Background: Men in sub-Saharan Africa are less likely than women to use HIV services. HIV testing strategies have dramatically improved for men through HIV self-testing (HIVST) and other male-focused strategies, but men who are identified as living with HIV are still less likely than women to initiate ART or remain in care, particularly within the first several months after initiation. In Malawi, men represent only 31% of new ART initiates2 - and men on ART are more likely than women to be lost to follow up (LTFU) at all time intervals of care than women. Men's absence from care is concerning not only for their own health, but also for the health of girls and young women who continue to be infected at unacceptably high rates. Offering ART at home or other locations convenient for men (i.e., home-based ART) for a brief period of time may help men overcome barriers related to facility-based treatment, develop coping strategies for ART engagement, and better engage in facility-based services over the long-term. In this study we will assess the impact of hbART by comparing two arms: Facility-Based ART (fbART arm): community-based male-specific counseling followed by linkage to a local health facility for ART initiation and continuation. Home-Based ART (hbART arm): community-based male-specific counseling followed by home-based ART initiation (or at any location that is convenient for participants) and home-based ART continuation for a 3-month period, followed by linkage to a local health facility for further ART continuation. Objective: Our primary objective is to compare the impact of home-based ART against standard of care for ART initiation and retention among men identified as HIV-positive through HIVST in Malawi. Our specific Aims are: Aim 1. Test the effectiveness of hbART versus fbART on ART initiation and 6-month viral suppression among men living with HIV. Aim 2. Identify predictors of ART initiation and 6-month viral suppression in the hbART arm Aim 3. Determine the cost-effectiveness and scalability of hbART at a national level. Methods: We will perform an individually randomized control trial with 700 HIV-positive men who have not yet initiated ART and a subset of 400 of their female partners. Men will be individually randomized 1:1 to one of the two intervention arms described above and will be enrolled in the study for 18-months or until 12-month retention (secondary outcome) can be measured, whichever comes first. The study will be performed at 10 health facilities supported by Partners in Hope (PIH). Data collection will include baseline and follow-up surveys at 2-, 4-, and 7-months, as well as medical charter reviews for men at 2-, 4-, 7-, and 13-months after study enrollment. Qualitative interviews will be conducted with a subset of men and women to understand perceptions of the intervention and experiences with ART engagement, and cost data from a provider perspective will be collected for a cost analysis of each arm. Anticipated results: Findings will establish the effectiveness of home-based ART among men living with HIV who have not yet engaged in treatment, and can directly inform HIV programs throughout the region. Findings will also help us assess if short-term home-based ART is sufficient to engage men in long-term facility-based care, or if additional, more resource-intensive services are needed, such as major changes to the structure of facility-based ART. ;

Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT04858243
Study type Interventional
Source University of California, Los Angeles
Contact Kathryn L Dovel, PhD
Phone +13108838179
Email [email protected]
Status Not yet recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date August 2, 2021
Completion date June 30, 2025

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