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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2004 Jan;8(1):83-91.

Can the poor adhere? Incentives for adherence to TB prevention in homeless adults.

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Department of Medicine, Positive Health Program, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94110, USA.



Community-based population of homeless adults living in San Francisco, California.


To compare the effect of cash and non-cash incentives on 1) adherence to treatment for latent tuberculosis infection, and 2) length of time needed to look for participants who missed their dose of medications.


Prospective, randomized clinical trial comparing a 5 dollar cash or a 5 dollar non-cash incentive. All participants received directly observed preventive therapy and standardized follow-up per a predetermined protocol. Completion rates and amount of time needed to follow up participants was measured.


Of the 119 participants, 102 (86%) completed therapy. There was no difference between the cash and non-cash arms. Completion was significantly higher among males (OR 5.65, 95%CI 1.36-23.40, P = 0.02) and persons in stable housing at study entry (OR 4.86, 95%CI 1.32-17.94, P = 0.02). No substance use or mental health measures were associated with completion. Participants in the cash arm needed significantly less follow-up to complete therapy compared to the non-cash arm (P = 0.03). In multivariate analysis, non-cash incentive, use of crack cocaine, and no prior preventive therapy were associated with more follow-up time.


Simple, low cost incentives can be used to improve adherence to TB preventive therapy in indigent adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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