Contextualizing & Responding to HIV Risk Behaviors


The purpose of this study was to pilot test the potential for improvement in antiretroviral medication adherence of a an adapted group-based, multi-session, community-based Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) adherence and risk reduction intervention, Project ADHerence Education and Risk Evaluation (ADHERE). Project ADHERE was compared to a single-session group-based medication adherence intervention, Medication Adherence and Care Engagement (MACE). A secondary aim was to examine the impact of Project ADHERE on HIV risk behaviors (i.e., illicit drug use and unprotected sexual behavior). This study was designed to inform, design, and pilot test the two antiretroviral medication adherence interventions for HIV-infected formerly incarcerated individuals.

Full Title of Study: “Contextualizing & Responding to HIV Risk Behaviors Among Black Drug Offenders”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
    • Masking: Single (Participant)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: December 21, 2016

Detailed Description

Formerly incarcerated Black drug offenders are at an elevated risk for HIV infection. Despite substantial research expressing the need for HIV prevention services for ex-offenders postrelease, this population has limited access to quality programming and services related to HIV risk reduction. This K01 application seeks to inform and adapt an HIV risk reduction intervention to address the needs of formerly incarcerated Black drug offenders who are being released from prisons in the New York City metropolitan area.The study will utilize qualitative and quantitative methods to inform and adapt an HIV prevention intervention for this study population.


  • Behavioral: Project ADHERE
    • This is a 3-session ART medication adherence and risk reduction intervention. Participants are educated about the importance of staying healthy and taking their medication as prescribed; to discuss importance of improved immune functioning and what their “viral load” means; reminded that they can still infect others with HIV, and that there currently is no cure for HIV; expected to generate strategies to overcome adherence barriers; educated about sexually transmitted infections (STI)/HIV transmission modes; assisted in devising an appropriate medication adherence and risk reduction plan. Participants will report their progress and discuss challenges experienced when implementing their medication adherence and risk reduction plans while establishing short- and long-term goals.
  • Behavioral: MACE
    • This one-session medication adherence intervention covers the following content: 1) a discussion on what viral load represents and what HIV does to the body; 2) referral to a provider for participants without a provider; 3) the importance of maintaining regular contact with a health care provider; and 4) benefits of being retained in care.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Project ADHERE
    • Participants will receive a 3-session antiretroviral medication adherence and risk reduction intervention called Project ADHERE.
  • Active Comparator: Control MACE
    • Participants will receive a one-session antiretroviral medication adherence intervention called MACE.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Number of participants who reached at least 85% medication adherence rate.
    • Time Frame: Over a 3-month period
    • Self-report data and viral loads to test for medication adherence will be collected and analyzed to yield the rate (%).

Secondary Measures

  • Percentage of participants with HIV risk behaviors
    • Time Frame: Over a 3-month period
    • Information on illicit drug use and unprotected sexual behavior wil be collected and analyzed. We sought to reduce the frequency of illicit drug use, and instance of unprotected sexual behavior as calculated in the percentage of participants.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

1. ≥18 years of age 2. HIV seropositive with "detectable" viral load (VL)(defined as >50 copies/mL) 3. history of drug use (used illicit drugs within the past year) 4. experienced incarceration in prison or jail within the past five years Exclusion Criteria:

1. living in a healthcare or assisted living facility 2. experienced incarceration longer than five years ago

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Columbia University
  • Collaborator
    • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Tawandra Rowell-Cunsolo, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Science – Columbia University
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Tawandra Rowell-Cunsolo, MD, Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Science (in Nursing), Nursing Scholarship & Research

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