We conducted a novel pilot randomized controlled trial of the Treatment Ambassador Program (TAP), an 8-session, peer-based, behavioral intervention for people with HIV (PWH) in South Africa not on antiretroviral therapy (ART). PWH (43 intervention, 41 controls) completed baseline, 3- and 6-month assessments. TAP was highly feasible (90% completion), with peer counselors demonstrating good intervention fidelity. Post-intervention interviews showed high acceptability of TAP and counselors, who supported autonomy, assisted with clinical navigation, and provided psychosocial support. Intention-to-treat analyses indicated increased ART initiation by 3 months in the intervention vs. control arm (12.2% [5/41] vs. 2.3% [1/43], Fisher exact p-value = 0.105; Cohen’s h = 0.41). Among those previously on ART (off for > 6 months), 33.3% initiated ART by 3 months in the intervention vs. 14.3% in the control arm (Cohen’s h = 0.45). Results suggest that TAP was highly acceptable and feasible among PWH not on ART.
The Treatment Ambassador Program: A highly acceptable and feasible community-based peer intervention for South Africans living with HIV who delay or discontinue antiretroviral therapy
AIDS and Behavior, 25 (4), 1129-1143. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-03063-1. PMCID: PMC7979476.