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The Link4Health study to evaluate the effectiveness of a combination intervention strategy for linkage to and retention in HIV care in Swaziland: protocol for a cluster randomized trial
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    26189154
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC4506770
  • Funding:
    R01 AI100059/AI/NIAID NIH HHS/United States
    R01AI100059/AI/NIAID NIH HHS/United States
  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Description:
    Background

    Gaps in the HIV care continuum contribute to suboptimal individual health outcomes and increased risk of HIV transmission at the population level. Implementation science studies are needed to evaluate clinic-based interventions aimed at improving retention of patients across the continuum.

    Methods/design

    Link4Health uses an unblended cluster site-randomized design to evaluate the effectiveness of a combination intervention strategy (CIS) as compared to standard of care on linkage to and retention in care among HIV-diagnosed adults in Swaziland. The CIS intervention targets a multiplicity of structural, behavioral, and biomedical barriers through five interventions: (1) point-of-care CD4 testing at time of HIV testing, (2) accelerated antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation for eligible patients, (3) mobile phone appointment reminders, (4) care and prevention packages, and (5) non-cash financial incentives for linkage and retention. The unit of randomization is a network of HIV clinics inclusive of a secondary facility coupled with an affiliated primary facility. Ten study units were randomized based on implementing partner, geographic location, and historic volume of HIV patients. Target enrollment was 2200 individuals, each to be followed for 12 months. Eligibility criteria includes HIV-positive test, age >18 years, willing to receive HIV care at a clinic in the study unit and consent to study procedures. Exclusion criteria included previous HIV care in the past 6 months, planning to leave the community, and current pregnancy.

    Discussion

    Link4Health evaluates a novel and pragmatic combination intervention strategy to improve linkage to and retention in care among adults with HIV in Swaziland. If the strategy is found to be effective, this study has the potential to inform HIV service delivery in resource-limited settings.

    Trial registration

    Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01904994