Peer-Driven Intervention to Seek, Test & Treat Heterosexuals at High Risk for HIV
Funded by: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Project dates: July 2011 - April 2017
Principal Investigator: Gwadz, Marya
Co-Investigator: Leonard, Noelle
Co-Investigator: Cleland, Charles
Co-Investigator: Hagan, Holly
Co-Investigator: Perlman, David

Finding individuals who are unaware they are HIV positive and linking them to care is a critical public health priority. Heterosexuals make up more than 25% of new HIV infections but do not test for HIV as frequently as and are diagnosed later than other risk groups. This study focused on Heterosexuals at High Risk (HHR) for HIV living in a high-risk area in Brooklyn, NY. The study evaluated three different strategies to locate heterosexuals at high risk for HIV, offer testing for HIV, and link those to care who are found positive – a “Seek, Test, Treat, and Retain” (STTR) approach. Specifically, the three strategies were: 1) a venue-based sampling approach (N=400), 2) a peer-driven intervention using confidential HIV testing in a two-session intervention (N=3000), and 3) a hybrid study with brief, low threshold anonymous HIV testing followed by confidential linkage to care (N=500). The main outcome for the studies’ “Seek and Test” phases is the proportion of newly identified HIV infections, or “yield.”  The main outcomes for the studies’ “Treat and Retain” phases were time to a first appointment at an HIV clinic, retention in care, time to starting HIV medications if it was medically indicated, adherence to medications (if taken), and viral load suppression among those newly diagnosed. This study also directly compared the cost effectiveness of each of the three strategies and conducted qualitative research on barriers to HIV testing and care. Thus the study will provide vital information on strategies to identify undiagnosed HIV infection among an under-studied population at high risk for HIV, as well as on care linkage approaches.

Abstract on NIH RePORTER
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