During the initial year of HIV diagnosis, while patients are often overwhelmed adjusting to this life changing diagnosis, they must develop self-care behaviors for attending regular medical care visits and antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence to achieve and sustain viral suppression (VS). Maintaining "HIV adherence" and integrating it into one's daily life is required to sustain VS over time. The HIV care continuum or "treatment cascade," an epidemiological snapshot of the national epidemic in the United States (US), indicates that a minority of persons living with HIV (PLWH) have achieved VS. Little evidence exists regarding the effects of interventions focusing on PLWH newly initiating outpatient HIV care. An intervention that focuses on both retention in care and ART adherence skills delivered during the pivotal first year of HIV care is lacking. To address this, we developed a theory-based intervention evaluated in the Integrating Engagement and Adherence Goals upon Entry (iENGAGE) study, a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) funded randomized behavioral intervention trial. Here we present the study objectives, design and rationale, as well as the intervention components, targeting rapid and sustained VS through retention in HIV care and ART adherence during participants' first year of HIV care. The primary outcome of the study is 48-week VS (<200 c/mL). The secondary outcomes are retention in care, including HIV visit adherence and visit constancy, as well as ART adherence.
Keywords: Adherence; Behavioral intervention; New to HIV care; Retention in care; Viral load; iENGAGE.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.