Project HERMITAGE: HIV Prevention in Hospitalized Russian Drinkers

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Jeffrey Samet, Boston Medical Center Identifier:
First received: June 6, 2007
Last updated: June 18, 2012
Last verified: June 2012

The objective of this study is to test in a randomized controlled trial the effectiveness of a US secondary HIV prevention program to reduce HIV risk behaviors, STD acquisition, and alcohol consumption among HIV-infected Russians with risky drinking.

Condition Intervention Phase
HIV Infections
Behavioral: Individual and group HIV risk behavior counseling sessions
Behavioral: health education and support group
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Maximizing Opportunity: HIV Prevention in Hospitalized Russian Drinkers

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Boston Medical Center:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Number of unprotected sex acts, unclean drug injections, and sexually transmitted infections (by urinalysis) [ Time Frame: 12 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Percentage of protected sex episodes, percentage of unprotected sex episodes Multiple drug partners, Number of sexually transmitted infections (by self report), Alcohol consumption, Disclosure of HIV serostatus [ Time Frame: 12 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]

Enrollment: 700
Study Start Date: October 2007
Study Completion Date: March 2012
Primary Completion Date: July 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: 1
Healthy Relationships Intervention (HRI)
Behavioral: Individual and group HIV risk behavior counseling sessions
Healthy Relationships Intervention (HRI) culturally adapted and modified to address substance use and associated risk behaviors; subjects will attend three 2-hour structured group sessions in addition to two 1-hour individualized sessions over the course of 10 days.
Other Name: HRI
Active Comparator: Attention-control group
health education & support
Behavioral: health education and support group
general health information (nutrition, stress reduction) in 2 individual sessions and 3 group sessions.

Detailed Description:

Russia has one of the fastest growing AIDS epidemics in the world, with an estimated 1 million HIV-infected persons. Initially the Russian HIV epidemic was almost exclusively among injection drug users (IDUs); however, concern exists that HIV is expanding into the general population via sexual transmission. Alcohol use, highly prevalent in Russia, may increase high-risk sexual behaviors among IDUs and alcohol dependent persons. Furthermore, animal models suggest that alcohol consumption plays a permissive role for HIV replication as the resultant higher viral loads may increase risk of transmission. Thus alcohol use may accelerate HIV transmission to the general population in Russia.

The study will randomize 700 HIV-infected patients with risky alcohol consumption to an adapted Healthy Relationships Intervention (HRI) or attention-control support groups. The intervention will be culturally adapted and modified to address substance use and associated risk behaviors. Subjects participating in the HRI will attend three 90-120 min structured group sessions in addition to two 30-60 min individualized sessions over the course of 5-10 days. Subjects in the attention-control group will participate in general health information sessions in the same format (i.e., 2 individualized and 3 group sessions) during the same timeframe.

All patients will be assessed at baseline (pre-randomization) and 6-months and 12-months post-randomization at the recruitment site. Primary outcomes are HIV sex and drug risk behaviors and sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, subjects will be assessed regarding secondary outcomes including alcohol consumption, quality of life and social support, victimization, suicide, overdose, and disclosure of HIV serostatus.

We hypothesize that relative to the comparison group, participants receiving the adapted Healthy Relationships Intervention will have reduced HIV sex and drug risk behaviors and STD acquisition. If the intervention is effective among HIV-infected hospitalized patients, it could be used to address other HIV infected persons in a variety of Russian settings potentially reducing the transmission of HIV by decreasing risky sex and drug use behaviors among Russians.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 70 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age 18-70 years old;
  • HIV positive;
  • Alcohol consumption at NIAAA at-risk drinking levels (greater than 14 drinks per week [or more than 4 drinks per day] for men, and greater than 7 drinks per week [or more than 3 drinks per day] for women) during the 30 days prior to hospital admission, For subjects whose drinking was not risky 30 days prior to hospital admission, we will ask if their drinking was equivalent to binge amounts on any day in the prior 6 months;
  • Self-reported unprotected anal or vaginal sex in the last 6 months;
  • Provision of contact information (e.g., name, home address, telephone number) of two relatives or close friends who can be contacted to share information that may be used to assist with follow-up;
  • Stable address within St. Petersburg or districts within 150 kilometers of St. Petersburg; and
  • Possession of a home telephone;
  • Fluent in Russian;
  • Ability to provide informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Severe cognitive impairment (i.e., clinically apparent dementia, active psychosis, or severe paranoid disorder) as judged by a hospital clinician and stated in the records;
  • Acute illness precluding ability to participate in assessment for eligibility (however these patients may be assessed again on a subsequent day);
  • Trying to get (partner) pregnant.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00483483

Russian Federation
City Drug Addiction Center
St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Pavlov State Medical University and Botkin Infectious Disease Hospital
St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
St. Petersburg AIDS Center
St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Sponsors and Collaborators
Boston Medical Center
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey H. Samet, MD, MA, MPH Boston Medical Center, Boston University
  More Information

No publications provided by Boston Medical Center

Additional publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Jeffrey Samet, Chief, Section of General Internal Medicine, Boston Medical Center Identifier: NCT00483483     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: NIAAASAM-016059, R01AA016059, NIH Grant 1R01AA016059-01
Study First Received: June 6, 2007
Last Updated: June 18, 2012
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by Boston Medical Center:
Unsafe sex
High-risk sex
Needle sharing
STDs processed this record on September 02, 2015