An ongoing study in Uganda has found that the chance for small prizes shows some promise in encouraging people with HIV to make their scheduled clinic appointments or adhere well to their treatment, aidsmap reports.

Publishing their findings in the journal AIDS, researchers designed a two-year randomized study of 144 adults receiving care for HIV in Mildmay, Uganda. The participants had been taking antiretrovirals (ARVs) for at least two years when they entered the study and had all had documented problems with adhering to treatment.

The participants were randomized into three groups. Those in the control group received standard health care services. Those in the other two groups received an intervention that gave them the chance to win various prizes, including coffee mugs, umbrella and water bottles. Participants in one of these groups received such opportunities if they attended their clinic appointments as scheduled, while those in the other group qualified if they took at least 90 percent of their doses of ARVs (which was measured by electronic pill bottles).

Reporting on the first nine months of the study, the investigators found that the control group had an overall 81 percent rate of adherence to their ARVs, compared with 88 percent among those in the clinic-visitation-based intervention group and 87 percent in the adherence-based intervention group. These differences, however, were only of borderline statistical significance, which means there is a possibility they were the result of chance.

That said, when the researchers looked at whether members of each group took 90 percent of their ARV doses, they found a greater apparent benefit from the interventions. Only 40 percent of those in the control group showed such adherence compared with 63 percent of those in the two intervention groups.

To read the study abstract, click here.

To read the aidsmap article, click here.