Reducing HIV Stigma for African American Women
African American women account for 66% of HIV infections in women in the U.S., AIDS is a leading cause of death for African American women, and African Americans have the lowest medication adherence rates compared to other groups in the U.S. One of the reasons for low medication adherence among African Americans is fear of stigma. HIV stigma has been linked to depression, psychological distress, poor quality of life, poor medication adherence and service utilization contributing to morbidity and mortality. Research has found that stigma is a moderator to poor adherence via depressive symptoms.
The current study is a randomized control trial with a time and attention control group to test the effectiveness of a stigma reduction intervention adapted for use with African American women. A total of 224 African American women will be recruited to participate in the study. Half of the women will be from Chicago, Illinois (112) and the other half will be from Birmingham, Alabama (112). A workshop will be held once a study site has recruited 28 women, half of the women will be in the intervention group (14) and the other half will be in the control group (14). Each study site will have 4 cohorts of 28 women.
The main aims of the current study are:
- to determine the long-term effectiveness of the intervention to reduce stigma for African American women living with HIV in Chicago Illinois and Birmingham, Alabama
- to examine whether stigma reduction due to the intervention is associated with improved physical health biomarkers (CD4+ T cell count, viral load), mediated by reduced psychological symptoms (depressive symptoms), improved engagement to care, and improved medication adherence
- to explore whether stigma reduction due to the intervention is moderated by location (Chicago vs. Birmingham), transmission risk factor, time since diagnosis, and perceived social support
We expect that the multimedia workshop intervention will demonstrate effectiveness in reducing internalized stigma through an easily-disseminated method, and that it will have a positive impact on medication adherence and engagement in care for African American women living with HIV.
|Study Design:||Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
|Official Title:||Reducing HIV Stigma to Improve Health Outcomes for African-American Women|
- Change in stigma scores from baseline to 12 months. [ Time Frame: baseline, after intervervention, 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months ]We will see if the intervention/workshop reduces HIV related stigma after 1 year in the study. We will use the Stigma Scale for Chronic Illness to measure stigma.
- Location as a moderator variable [ Time Frame: baseline, after intervervention, 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months ]This is a multi-site study (Chicago and Birmingham) and we are interested in seeing if location is a moderating variable
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist [ Time Frame: baseline, 12 months ]
- Adherence to HIV Medication [ Time Frame: baseline, after intervention, 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months ]Adherence to HIV medication will be measured by participants self report of adherence using commonly used set of questions.
- Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) [ Time Frame: baseline, after intervention, 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months ]We will look at the correlation between stigma scores and depression scores over time.
- Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Scale [ Time Frame: Study duration ]We are going to use a validated social support scale, and analyze social support as a correlate.
- substance abuse [ Time Frame: baseline, 12 months ]substance use and stigma of substance use will be measured using: Alcohol Use disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS) Substance Abuse Self Stigma (SASS)
- Engagement in Care (from patient record) [ Time Frame: baseline, 4 months, 8 months, 12 months ]Research assistants will access participants' medical records to see if patients have missed any HIV related visits (i.e. medical, counseling). Engagement to care will be measured as a proportion (missed visits over total scheduled). Rescheduled visits will not count as missed visits. At baseline, we will look at visits for the past 12 months.
- HIV viral load (from medical chart) over 1 year study duration [ Time Frame: baseline, 4 months, 8 months, 12 months ]We want to examine whether stigma reduction due to the intervention is associated with improved physical health bio-markers such as suppression in HIV viral load in the blood (taken from medical chart/previous clinical blood tests).
- Change in CD4 count [ Time Frame: baseline, 4 months, 8 months, 12 months ]We want to see wither stigma reduction from the intervention associated with improved physical health bio-markers such as CD4+ T cell count.
|Study Start Date:||June 2013|
|Estimated Study Completion Date:||December 2016|
|Estimated Primary Completion Date:||December 2016 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)|
Experimental: Unity Workshop
The intervention is a workshop facilitated by a peer advocate (an African American woman who is also HIV positive) and a social worker. It has exercises, videos and group discussions intended to equip participants with coping skills to overcome HIV related stigma and the negative outcomes related to stigma. The workshop will last about 8 hours total across 2 two days (4 hours per day). The researcher in the current study has done a lot of work in adapting this intervention for African American women. The workshop has been piloted in Seattle and had promising results. Based on results in the pilot study, a 2 hour booster session has been added 6 months after the initial workshop
Behavioral: Unity Workshop
The intervention is based on other stigma reduction programs that are being used internationally (HIV Stigma Toolkit developed by the International Center for Research on Women and trigger videos developed by International Training & Education Center for health).
Breast Cancer Screening
The time and attention control group workshop will be facilitated by a research coordinator. The control group program is based on another program that is designed explore issues related to breast cancer screening among African American women. The program has the same format as the Unity Workshop, with video and group discussion. Although breast cancer may be associated with stigma, we anticipated that breast cancer stigmas would not be related to HIV-associated stigma, which is our primary outcome of interest. The control groups will be held during the same week as the Unity Workshops, and control group participants will complete assessments on the same schedule as the Unity Workshop participants.
|Behavioral: Breast Cancer Screening|
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01893112
|United States, Alabama|
|University of Alabama Birmingham|
|Birmingham, Alabama, United States, 35233|
|United States, Illinois|
|Northwestern University (NU)|
|Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60611|
|Principal Investigator:||Deepa Rao, PhD, MA||University of Washington|