The overall objective of this project is to demonstrate that a low cost, cell phone-delivered intervention is a promising, feasible and acceptable way to improve the prevention and treatment outcomes of women in India who are affected by HIV and inter-related mental health and psychosocial risk factors. Over the past decade there have been dramatic improvements in HIV prevention and access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Yet, deficits in adherence to the spectrum of HIV care pose significant barriers to success. Women are at a particular disadvantage. Gender inequality, physical and situational factors place many women at increased risk for HIV acquisition and poor mental health and interrelated psychosocial co-factors (depression, gender-discrimination, violence, lack of social support, etc.) that are well established correlates of poor adherence and retention in HIV care. Few adherence interventions have focused on women in India outside of short-term prevention in PMTCT programs. Recent studies have shown alarmingly high rates of loss to follow-up for these women, particularly in the transition after delivery, between PMTCT and lifelong HIV care services. To address this gap, a collaborative partnership between the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) and Yale University will leverage the complementary expertise of a uniquely well qualified, multidisciplinary team of Indian and U.S. of clinical investigators, stakeholders and resources. Our preliminary work indicates that a theory-guided adherence phone intervention that can be easily integrated and sustained as a component of routine ART Centre services is well suited for the target population, but it needs to be adapted to the sociocultural context. Following initial formative work to refine the interventio for delivery in India, we will train clinic nurses to deliver the intervention, and then evaluate te feasibility, fidelity and preliminary efficacy of the novel application of the intervention in a randomized trial. After baseline assessment, women (n=120) will be randomly assigned to treatment as usual (TAU) or TAU plus the phone intervention (delivered over 16 weeks) and outcomes (e.g., depressive symptoms, adherence) will be evaluated at 6, 14, 24, 36 weeks post-randomization. If the promising mobile phone intervention developed and pilot tested in this project shows promise in this Phase 1 study as we expect, the efficacy and cost of the intervention will then be evaluated in a large scale, multi-site study. If successful, an extremely practical approach will be available to improve the prevention and treatment outcomes of women with HIV and co-morbid mental health problems in India.
This project is directly responsive to RFA-AI-12-033 U.S. - India Bilateral Collaborative Research Partnerships (CRP) on the Prevention of HIV/AIDS and Co-morbidities (R21) A collaborative partnership between the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) and Yale University will address an understudied problem of importance to U.S., Indian and global health priorities. Findings will demonstrate whether a low cost, cell phone-delivered intervention is a promising, feasible and acceptable way to improve the secondary prevention and treatment outcomes of women in India who are affected by HIV and inter-related mental health and psychosocial risk factors.