Background: Persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who get and keep a suppressed viral load are unlikely to transmit HIV. Simple, practical interventions to help achieve HIV viral suppression that are easy and inexpensive to administer in clinical settings are needed. We evaluated whether a brief video containing HIV-related health messages targeted to all patients in the waiting room improved treatment initiation, medication adherence, and retention in care.
Methods and findings: In a quasi-experimental trial all patients (N = 2,023) attending two HIV clinics from June 2016 to March 2017 were exposed to a theory-based, 29-minute video depicting persons overcoming barriers to starting treatment, taking medication as prescribed, and keeping medical appointments. New prescriptions at index visit, HIV viral load test results, and dates of return visits were collected through review of medical records for all patients during the 10 months that the video was shown. Those data were compared with the same variables collected for all patients (N = 1,979) visiting the clinics during the prior 10 months (August 2015 to May 2016). Among patients exposed to the video, there was an overall 10.4 percentage point increase in patients prescribed treatment (60.3% to 70.7%, p< 0.01). Additionally, there was an overall 6.0 percentage point improvement in viral suppression (56.7% to 62.7%, p< 0.01), however mixed results between sites was observed. There was not a significant change in rates of return visits (77.5% to 78.8%). A study limitation is that, due to the lack of randomization, the findings may be subject to bias and secular trends.
Conclusions: Showing a brief treatment-focused video in HIV clinic waiting rooms can be effective at improving treatment initiation and may help patients achieve viral suppression. This feasible, low resource-reliant video intervention may be appropriate for adoption by other clinics treating persons with HIV.
Trial registration: http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03508310).