Protocol for a systematic review of treatment adherence for HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis among homeless populations

Syst Rev. 2020 Sep 13;9(1):211. doi: 10.1186/s13643-020-01470-y.


Background: Homelessness is a global issue and HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis are known to be prevalent in this group. Homeless populations face significant barriers to care. We aim to summarise evidence of treatment initiation and completion for homeless populations with these infections, and their associated factors, through a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods: We will search MEDLINE, Embase and CINAHL for all study types and conference abstracts looking at either (1) treatment initiation in a cohort experiencing homelessness with at least one of HIV, hepatitis C, active tuberculosis and/or latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI); (2) treatment completion for those who initiated treatment. We will perform a meta-analysis of the proportion of those with each infection who initiate and complete treatment, as well as analysis of individual and health system factors that may affect adherence levels. We will evaluate the quality of research papers using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale.

Discussion: Given the political emphasis on global elimination of these diseases, and the current lack of understanding of effective and equitable treatment adherence strategies in homeless populations, this review will provide insight to policy-makers and service providers aiming to improve homeless healthcare.

Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42019153150.

Keywords: HIV; Hepatitis C; Homelessness; Inclusion health; Inequality; LTBI; Treatment adherence; Treatment completion; Treatment initiation; Tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C* / drug therapy
  • Homeless Persons*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic
  • Treatment Adherence and Compliance
  • Tuberculosis* / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis* / epidemiology