Study uses novel incentive to encourage HIV patient care and treatment

In a new study by ICAP at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, researchers are assessing a novel approach to encourage newly diagnosed HIV positive people to seek care and adhere to HIV treatment. The unique study in the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) gives people who test HIV positive a coupon for a gift card to claim after they complete clinic visits and laboratory tests. Patients who adhere to HIV treatment regularly can decrease the amount of HIV in their blood, leading to viral suppression. Study participants who achieve viral suppression also receive gift cards as a reward and motivation for a maximum of four times a year.

Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, ICAP director, is protocol chair for the HPTN 065 or Test Link to Care Plus Treat (TLC-Plus) Study. HPTN 065 is being conducted in the Bronx and in Washington, DC and involves 37 HIV testing sites and 39 HIV care sites in the two communities. HPTN 065 aims to determine the feasibility of enhanced testing, linkage and treatment as a strategy for HIV prevention in the U.S.

Community input played an important role in the design of the study, explained Dr. El-Sadr, who is also professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at Columbia's Mailman School. "Before we introduced our financial incentive, we had to think so carefully about what can happen that's good and what can undermine what you're trying to do," she said. "And we want to use incentives that, if they are effective, will be cost-effective for health systems."

Findings of the study are featured in Science magazine's July 13 special issue, "HIV/AIDS in America," published on the eve of the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington, D.C.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Testing times: Detecting HIV in resource-limited settings

Nov 29, 2007

Integrating HIV testing programmes into primary medical care can help achieve early diagnosis of HIV infection, even in relatively poor areas, research published in the online open access journal AIDS Research and Therapy ...

New book on HIV from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

Dec 15, 2011

The worldwide AIDS epidemic makes research on HIV, the disease processes it induces, and potential HIV therapies among the most critical in biomedical science. Furthermore, the basic biology of HIV infections ...

Recommended for you

HIV+ women respond well to HPV vaccine

4 hours ago

HIV-positive women respond well to a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), even when their immune system is struggling, according to newly published results of an international clinical trial. The study's findings ...

HIV battle must focus on hard-hit streets, paper argues

Apr 10, 2014

In U.S. cities, it's not just what you do, but also your address that can determine whether you will get HIV and whether you will survive. A new paper in the American Journal of Public Health illustrates the ef ...

User comments