Effects of Behavioral Intervention Components for African American/Black and Latino Persons Living with HIV with Non-suppressed Viral Load Levels: Results of an Optimization Trial
There is an urgent need for efficient behavioral interventions to increase rates of HIV viral suppression for populations with serious barriers to engagement along the HIV care continuum. We carried out an optimization trial to test the effects of five behavioral intervention components designed to address barriers to HIV care continuum engagement for African American/Black and Latino persons living with HIV (PLWH) with non-suppressed HIV viral load levels: motivational interviewing sessions (MI), focused support groups (SG), peer mentorship (PM), pre-adherence skill building (SB), and navigation with two levels, short (NS) and long (NL). The primary outcome was HIV viral suppression (VS) and absolute viral load (VL) and health-related quality of life were secondary outcomes. Participants were 512 African American/Black and Latino PLWH poorly engaged in HIV care and with detectable HIV viral load levels in New York City, recruited mainly through peer referral. Overall, VS increased to 37%, or 45% in a sensitivity analysis. MI and SG seemed to have antagonistic effects on VS (z = - 1.90; p = 0.057); the probability of VS was highest when either MI or SG was assigned, but not both. MI (Mean Difference = 0.030; 95% CI 0.007-0.053; t(440) = 2.60; p = 0.010) and SB (Mean Difference = 0.030; 95% CI 0.007-0.053; t(439) = 2.54; p = 0.012) improved health-related quality of life. This is the first optimization trial in the field of HIV treatment. The study yields a number of insights into approaches to improve HIV viral suppression in PLWH with serious barriers to engagement along the HIV care continuum, including chronic poverty, and underscores challenges inherent in doing so.
Trends in drug use among nightclub and festival attendees in New York City, 2017-2022
BACKGROUND:Drug use is prevalent among people who attend electronic dance music (EDM) parties at nightclubs or festivals. This population can serve as a sentinel population to monitor trends in use of party drugs and new psychoactive substances (NPS) that may diffuse through larger segments of the population. METHODS:We surveyed adults entering randomly selected EDM parties at nightclubs and dance festivals in New York City about their drug use in 2017 (n=954), 2018 (n=1,029), 2019 (n=606), 2021 (n=229), and 2022 (n=419). We estimated trends in past-year and past-month use of 22 drugs or drug classes based on self-report from 2017-2022 and examined whether there were shifts pre- vs. post-COVID (2017-2019 vs. 2021-2022). RESULTS:Between 2017 and 2022, there were increases in past-year and past-month use of shrooms (psilocybin), ketamine, poppers (amyl/butyl nitrites), synthetic cathinones ("bath salts"), and novel psychedelics (lysergamides and DOx series), increases in past-year cannabis use, and increases in past-month use of 2C series drugs. Between 2017 and 2022, there were decreases in past-year heroin use and decreases in past-month cocaine use, novel stimulant use, and nonmedical benzodiazepine use. The odds of use of shrooms, poppers, and 2C series drugs significantly increased after COVID, and the odds of use of cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, methamphetamine, novel stimulants, and prescription opioids (nonmedical use) decreased post-COVID. CONCLUSIONS:We estimate shifts in prevalence of various drugs among this sentinel population, which can inform ongoing surveillance efforts and public health response in this and the general populations.
Use of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) devices among U.S. Youth and adults: Findings from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study Waves 1-5
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) devices evolve rapidly and impact nicotine dependence. This study described the type of ENDS devices used most frequently by U.S. youth and adults from 2013/14 to 2018/19. METHODS:We analyzed Waves 1-5 data of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study. Among current ENDS users, descriptive statistics summarized the most frequently used ENDS devices (i.e., disposable cigalike, refillable cartridge, nonrefillable cartridge, tank, mod, prefilled pod, disposable pod) among youth (12-17 years), young adults (18-34 years), and older adults (≥35 years) for each wave. RESULTS:The proportion of current ENDS users who reported they most frequently used disposable cigalikes and cartridge-based devices declined over time across all age groups. At Waves 1-4, tank was generally the most popular type for all ages and an increasing proportion of ENDS users reported they most frequently used tanks. The primary use of mods decreased among youth, and fluctuated among young and older adults. At Wave 5, prefilled pods became the dominant type (youth: 55.0%; young adults: 44.7%; older adults: 42.7%), and 4.2-10.0% of ENDS users reported using disposable pods most often. The popularity of tanks, mods, and prefilled pods was more evident in youth and young adults, and primary use of disposable pods was more common in older adults. CONCLUSIONS:The primary use of ENDS devices changed over the years and varied by age. More research is warranted to continuously monitor the characteristics of ENDS devices in youth and adults to inform product regulations and intervention efforts.
Study protocol for a multisite randomized controlled trial of a peer navigator intervention for emergency department patients with nonfatal opioid overdose
BACKGROUND:Patients presenting to emergency departments (EDs) after a nonfatal opioid-involved overdose are at high risk for future overdose and death. Responding to this risk, the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene operates the Relay initiative, which dispatches trained peer "Wellness Advocates" to meet patients in the ED after a suspected opioid-involved overdose and follow them for up to 90 days to provide support, education, referrals to treatment, and other resources using a harm reduction framework. METHODS:In this article, we describe the protocol for a multisite randomized controlled trial of Relay. Study participants are recruited from four NYC EDs and are randomized to receive the Relay intervention or site-directed care (the control arm). Outcomes are assessed through survey questionnaires conducted at 1-, 3-, and 6-months after the baseline visit, as well as through administrative health data. The primary outcome is the number of opioid-related adverse events, including any opioid-involved overdose or any other substance use-related ED visit, in the 12 months post-baseline. Secondary and exploratory outcomes will also be analyzed, as well as hypothesized mediators and moderators of Relay program effectiveness. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:We present the protocol for a multisite randomized controlled trial of a peer-delivered OD prevention intervention in EDs. We describe how the study was designed to minimize disruption to routine ED operations, and how the study was implemented and adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov [NCT04317053].
Exploring behavioral intervention components for African American/Black and Latino persons living with HIV with non-suppressed HIV viral load in the United States: a qualitative study
BACKGROUND:The persistence of racial/ethnic inequities in rates of engagement along the HIV care continuum signals the need for novel approaches. We developed six behavioral intervention components for use in an optimization trial, grounded in a model that integrates critical race theory, harm reduction, and self-determination theory, designed to address various barriers that African American/Black and Latino persons living with HIV (PLWH) experience to the HIV care continuum. The components were: health education, motivational interviewing sessions, pre-adherence skill building, peer mentorship, focused support groups, and navigation. The present qualitative exploratory study describes participants' perspectives on the components' acceptability, feasibility, and impact. METHODS:Participants were African American/Black and Latino PLWH poorly engaged in HIV care and with non-suppressed HIV viral load in New York City. From a larger trial, we randomly selected 46 participants for in-depth semi-structured interviews. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim, and data were analyzed using directed content analysis. Quantitative data on sociodemographic and background characteristics and components' acceptability and feasibility were also collected. RESULTS:On average, participants were 49 years old and had lived with HIV for 19 years. Most were cisgender-male and African American/Black. Participants reported a constellation of serious social and structural challenges to HIV management including chronic poverty, unstable housing, and stigma. Across components, a non-judgmental and pressure-free approach and attention to structural and cultural factors were seen as vital to high levels of engagement, but lacking in most medical/social service settings. Prominent aspects of individual components included establishing trust (health education); developing intrinsic motivation, goals, and self-reflection (motivational interviewing sessions); learning/practicing adherence strategies and habits (pre-adherence skill building); reducing social isolation via peer role models (peer mentorship); reflecting on salient goals and common challenges with peers without stigma (focused support groups); and circumventing structural barriers to HIV management with support (navigation). Components were found acceptable and feasible. Findings suggested ways components could be improved. CONCLUSIONS:The present study advances research on interventions for African American/Black and Latino PLWH, who experience complex barriers to engagement along the HIV care continuum. Future study of the components is warranted to address racial/ethnic health inequities in HIV.
Association between recent methamphetamine use, antiretroviral therapy and HIV viral load; a mediation analysis from a cohort of HIV positive persons who inject drugs in Hai Phong, Vietnam
BACKGROUND:There has been a significant increase in methamphetamine use among persons who use drugs in Vietnam in the last 5-10 years. We examined the degree to which adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) mediates the relationship between recent methamphetamine use and unsuppressed HIV viral load among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Hai Phong, Vietnam. METHODS:We recruited PWID from October 2016-October 2018 and enrolled HIV positive PWID into a cohort, with up to three years of total follow-up. We assessed relationships among recent methamphetamine use frequency, ART adherence and unsuppressed HIV viral load. Mediation analysis was used to estimate the total and natural direct effects of recent methamphetamine use on unsuppressed HIV viral load and the indirect effect proportion. RESULTS:We enrolled 792 HIV seropositive PWID into the cohort; approximately 75.9% reported high/perfect ART adherence at baseline and 81.3% were virally suppressed. In mediation analysis, the total effect for the association between methamphetamine use and unsuppressed HIV viral load (1000 copies/mL) was 3.94 (95% CI: 1.95, 7.96); the natural direct effect was 2.14 (95% CI: 1.29, 3.55); the proportion mediated by self-reported ART adherence was 0.444. Similar results were found when examining lower unsuppressed HIV viral load cutpoints of 250 copies/mL and 500 copies/mL. CONCLUSIONS:Methamphetamine use is associated with unsuppressed HIV viral load among PWID despite high levels of ART adherence. Further research is needed to better understand these relationships, with emphasis on potential biological pathways that may interact with ART.
Mediation of the Effect of Incarceration on Selling Sex Among Black Sexual Minority Men and Black Transgender Women in the HPTN 061 Study
Incarceration among Black sexual minority men and Black transgender women (BSMM/BTW) is disproportionately high in the United States. Limited research has documented the disruptive effect of incarceration on sexual networks and sexual partnership exchange among BSMM/BTW. We estimate the influence of incarceration on selling sex and mediating pathways among 1169 BSMM/BTW enrolled in the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 061 cohort to assess this relationship. Mediators investigated were social support, violence, illicit drug use, and distress due to experienced racism and homophobia. During the 6 months following baseline, 14% of the cohort was incarcerated, including 24% of BTW. After adjustment, recent incarceration was associated with 1.57 (95% CI 1.02, 2.42) times the risk of subsequently selling sex. The hypothesized mediators together explained 25% of the relationship, with an indirect effect risk ratio of 1.09 (95% CI 0.97, 1.24). Our results document an association and call for more research investigating mechanisms.
A virtual pilot optimization trial for African American/Black and Latino persons with non-suppressed HIV viral load grounded in motivational interviewing and behavioral economics
INTRODUCTION:Virtual and low-touch behavioral interventions are needed for African American/Black and Latino persons living with HIV (PLWH) with barriers to HIV viral suppression, particularly during COVID-19. Guided by the multiphase optimization strategy, we explored three components for PLWH without viral suppression, grounded in motivational interviewing and behavioral economics: (1) motivational interviewing counseling, (2) 21-weeks of automated text messages and quiz questions about HIV management, and (3) financial rewards for viral suppression (lottery prize vs. fixed compensation). METHODS:This pilot optimization trial used sequential explanatory mixed methods to explore the components' feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary evidence of effects using an efficient factorial design. The primary outcome was viral suppression. Participants engaged in baseline and two structured follow-up assessments over an 8-month period, and provided laboratory reports to document HIV viral load. A subset engaged in qualitative interviews. We carried out descriptive quantitative analyses. Then, qualitative data were analyzed using directed content analysis. Data integration used the joint display method. RESULTS:= 80) were 49 years old, on average (SD = 9), and 75% were assigned male sex at birth. Most (79%) were African American/Black, and the remainder were Latino. Participants were diagnosed with HIV 20 years previously on average (SD = 9). Overall, components were feasible (>80% attended) and acceptability was satisfactory. A total of 39% (26/66) who provided laboratory reports at follow-up evidenced viral suppression. Findings suggested no components were entirely unsuccessful. The lottery prize compared to fixed compensation was the most promising component level. In qualitative analyses, all components were seen as beneficial to individual wellbeing. The lottery prize appeared more interesting and engaging than fixed compensation. However, structural barriers including financial hardship interfered with abilities to reach viral suppression. The integrated analyses yielded areas of convergence and discrepancy and qualitative findings added depth and context to the quantitative results. CONCLUSIONS:The virtual and/or low-touch behavioral intervention components tested are acceptable and feasible and show enough potential to warrant refinement and testing in future research, particularly the lottery prize. Results must be interpreted in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. TRIAL REGISTRATION:NCT04518241 (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04518241).
Clinics Optimizing MEthadone Take-homes for opioid use disorder (COMET): Protocol for a stepped-wedge randomized trial to facilitate clinic level changes
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Regulatory changes made during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) that relaxed criteria for take-home dosing (THD) of methadone offer an opportunity to improve quality of care with a lifesaving treatment. There is a pressing need for research to study the long-term effects of the new PHE THD rules and to test data-driven interventions to promote more effective adoption by opioid treatment programs (OTPs). We propose a two-phase project to develop and test a multidimensional intervention for OTPs that leverages information from large State administrative data. METHODS AND ANALYSIS/METHODS:We propose a two-phased project to develop then test a multidimensional OTP intervention to address clinical decision making, regulatory confusion, legal liability concerns, capacity for clinical practice change, and financial barriers to THD. The intervention will include OTP THD specific dashboards drawn from multiple State databases. The approach will be informed by the Health Equity Implementation Framework (HEIF). In phase 1, we will employ an explanatory sequential mixed methods design to combine analysis of large state administrative databases-Medicaid, treatment registry, THD reporting-with qualitative interviews to develop and refine the intervention. In phase 2, we will conduct a stepped-wedge trial over three years with 36 OTPs randomized to 6 cohorts of a six-month clinic-level intervention. The trial will test intervention effects on OTP-level implementation outcomes and patient outcomes (1) THD use; 2) retention in care; and 3) adverse healthcare events). We will specifically examine intervention effects for Black and Latinx clients. A concurrent triangulation mixed methods design will be used: quantitative and qualitative data collection will occur concurrently and results will be integrated after analysis of each. We will employ generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) in the analysis of stepped-wedge trials. The primary outcome will be weekly or greater THD. The semi-structured interviews will be transcribed and analyzed with Dedoose to identify key facilitators, barriers, and experiences according to HEIF constructs using directed content analysis. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:This multi-phase, embedded mixed methods project addresses a critical need to support long-term practice changes in methadone treatment for opioid use disorder following systemic changes emerging from the PHE-particularly for Black and Latinx individuals with opioid use disorder. By combining findings from analyses of large administrative data with lessons gleaned from qualitative interviews of OTPs that were flexible with THD and those that were not, we will build and test the intervention to coach clinics to increase flexibility with THD. The findings will inform policy at the local and national level.
Associations between police harassment and distrust in and reduced access to healthcare among Black sexual minority men: A longitudinal analysis of HPTN 061
OBJECTIVE:Evaluate associations between racialized and homophobia-based police harassment (RHBPH) and healthcare distrust and utilization among Black Sexual Minority Men (BSMM). METHODS:We utilized data from a longitudinal cohort study from HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 061 with baseline, six and 12 month follow-up assessments. Using multivariable analysis, we evaluated associations between RHBPH and healthcare distrust and utilization reported at the 6 and 12 month visits. RESULTS:Of 1553 BSMM present at baseline, 1160 were available at six-month follow-up. In multivariable analysis, increasing frequency of RHBPH was associated with increasing levels of distrust in healthcare providers (aOR 1.31, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.74) and missing 50% or more of healthcare visits at six-month follow-up (aOR 1.93, 95% CI: 1.09, 3.43). CONCLUSIONS:Recent experiences of RHBPH are associated with reduced trust in and access to healthcare among BSMM, with more frequent RHBPH associated with greater vulnerability.