Healthy Choices, a four-part intervention designed to improve adherence to antiretroviral (ARV) medications and reduce alcohol use among young people with HIV, had a greater positive effect when delivered in a clinic rather than at participants’ homes in a recent study.

Researchers led by Sylvie Naar, PhD, a distinguished endowed professor of behavioral sciences and social medicine at Florida State University College of Medicine, conducted a randomized clinical trial of the Healthy Choices intervention between November 2014 and January 2018. The intervention was given in four sessions during a 10-week period. The investigators followed the participants for 52 weeks.

The participants were recruited from five adolescent HIV clinics in the United States. They were 16 to 24 years old, were currently prescribed ARVs, had a detectable viral load and had used alcohol during the past 12 weeks.

Of the 183 participants, 79% were young men, and the average age was about 21 years old. They were randomized to receive the intervention at home (90 people) or in a clinic (93 people).

As described in JAMA Network Open, the average viral load declined in both groups during the study’s follow-up period.

Of those in the home group, 21% had an undetectable viral load at week 16, as did 22% at week 28 and 20% at week 52. In the clinic group, the respective proportions with a fully suppressed viral load at each time point were 24%, 39% and 35%.

Receiving the intervention at the clinic was also associated with reduced alcohol use compared with receiving it at home.

“Thus,” the study authors concluded, “clinics may be the more effective site for interventions aimed at viral load reduction for young people living with HIV.”

To read the study, click here.