Background: Persons held in correctional facilities are at high risk for HIV infection and their prevalence of HIV is substantially higher than in the general population. Thus, the need for proper surveillance and care of this high risk population is a paramount public health issue. This study aims to evaluate an organization-level intervention strategy for improving HIV services for persons in prison or jail.
Methods/design: HIV Services and Treatment Implementation in Corrections (HIV-STIC) is using a cluster randomized trial design to test an organization-level intervention designed to implement improvements in preventing, detecting, and treating HIV for persons under correctional supervision. Matched pairs of prison or jail facilities were randomized using a SAS algorithm. Facility staff members in both Experimental and Control conditions involved in HIV service delivery are recruited to receive training on HIV infection, the HIV services continuum, and relevant web-based resources. Staff members in both conditions are tasked to implement improvements in HIV prevention, testing, or treatment in their facility. In the Control condition facilities, staff participants use existing techniques for implementing improvement in a selected area of HIV services. In contrast, the Experimental condition staff participants work as a Local Change Team (LCT) with external coaching and use a structured process improvement approach to improve a selected part of the HIV services continuum. The intervention period is 10 months during which data are obtained using survey instruments administered to staff members and aggregate services delivery data. The study is being implemented in 13 pairs of correctional facilities across nine states in the US. Experimental sites are hypothesized to show improvements in both staff attitudes toward HIV services and the number and quality of HIV services provided for inmates.
Discussion: The current study examines a range of process and outcome data relevant to the implementation of a Change Team approach across diverse correctional settings in the United States. This initial study represents an important step toward a national best practices approach to implementing change in U.S. correctional settings and could serve as an exemplar for designing similar implementation studies.
Keywords: Change team; Correctional facility; HIV; NIATx.