Background: Youth are globally recognized as being vulnerable to HIV. Younger age has been correlated with worse health outcomes. Mobile health (mHealth) interventions have the potential to interact with youth where they are, using a device they already access.
Objective: Using predefined benchmarks, we sought to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of WYZ, an mHealth app, for improved engagement in care and antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among youth and young adults living with HIV. WYZ was designed and developed with input from youth and young adults living with HIV using a human-centered design approach and was based on the information, motivation, and behavioral skills framework to address common barriers to care and ART adherence among youth and young adults living with HIV.
Methods: We recruited youth and young adults living with HIV (18-29 years old) from the San Francisco Bay Area to take part in a 6-month pilot trial. Their participation included completing baseline and exit surveys, and participating in seven phone check-ins about their use of WYZ.
Results: Youth and young adults living with HIV (N=79) reported high levels of feasibility and acceptability with WYZ use. We met predefined benchmarks for recruitment (79/84, 94%), mean logins per week (5.3), tracking ART adherence (5442/9393, 57.9%), posting chat topics per week (4.8), and app crashes reported per week (0.24). The ease of app download, install, and setup, and comfort with security, privacy, and anonymity were highly rated (all over 91%). Additionally, participants reported high satisfaction for a research project that was remotely conducted. Participants used the app for shorter timeframes compared to the predefined benchmark.
Conclusions: We noted high feasibility and acceptability with WYZ. Further research to examine the efficacy of WYZ will enable youth and young adults living with HIV and their providers to make informed decisions when using, recommending, and prescribing the app for improved engagement in HIV care and ART adherence.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03587857; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03587857.
Keywords: antiretroviral therapy adherence; engagement in care; mobile app; mobile health; pilot; youth living with HIV.
©Parya Saberi, Nadra E Lisha, Xavier A Erguera, Estie Sid Hudes, Mallory O Johnson, Theodore Ruel, Torsten B Neilands. Originally published in JMIR Formative Research (https://formative.jmir.org), 31.08.2021.