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Title: Enabling Adherence to Treatment (EAT): a pilot study of a combination intervention to improve HIV treatment outcomes among street-connected individuals in western Kenya
Authors: Kibel, Mia
Kiptui, Reuben
Embleton, Lonnie
Omar, Galárraga
Apondi, Edith
Ayuku, David
Braitstein, Paula
Keywords: HIV
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: BMC
Abstract: Background Street-connected individuals (SCI) in Kenya experience barriers to accessing HIV care. This pilot study provides proof-of-concept for Enabling Adherence to Treatment (EAT), a combination intervention providing modifed directly observed therapy (mDOT), daily meals, and peer navigation services to SCI living with HIV or requiring therapy for other conditions (e.g. tuberculosis). The goal of the EAT intervention was to improve engagement in HIV care and viral suppression among SCI living with HIV in an urban setting in Kenya. Methods This pilot study used a single group, pre/post-test design, and enrolled a convenience sample of selfidentifed SCI of any age. Participants were able to access free hot meals, peer navigation services, and mDOT 6 days per week. We carried out descriptive statistics to characterize participants’ engagement in EAT and HIV treatment outcomes. We used McNemar’s chi-square test to calculate unadjusted diferences in HIV outcomes pre- and postintervention among participants enrolled in HIV care prior to EAT. We compared unadjusted time to initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and frst episode of viral load (VL) suppression among participants enrolled in HIV care prior to EAT vs. concurrently with EAT using the Wilcoxon rank sum test. Statistical signifcance was defned as p<0.05. We calculated total, fxed, and variable costs of the intervention. Results Between July 2018 and February 2020, EAT enrolled 87 participants: 46 (53%) female and 75 (86%) living with HIV. At baseline, 60 out of 75 participants living with HIV (80%) had previously enrolled in HIV care. Out of 60, 56 (93%) had initiated ART, 44 (73%) were active in care, and 25 (42%) were virally suppressed (VL<1000 copies/mL) at their last VL measure in the 19 months before EAT. After 19 months of follow-up, all 75 participants living with HIV had enrolled in HIV care and initiated ART, 65 (87%) were active in care, and 44 (59%) were virally suppressed at their last VL measure. Among the participants who were enrolled in HIV care before EAT, there was a signifcant increase in the proportion who were active in HIV care and virally suppressed at their last VL measure during EAT enrollment
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