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JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2020 Jan 10;8(1):e16838. doi: 10.2196/16838.

Digital HIV Care Navigation for Young People Living With HIV in San Francisco, California: Feasibility and Acceptability Study.

Author information

1
Center for Public Health Research, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA, United States.
2
Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, United States.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

HIV continues to be a public health challenge adversely affecting youth and young adults, as they are the fastest-growing group of new HIV infections in the United States and the group with the poorest health outcomes among those living with HIV. HIV prevention science has turned to mobile health as a novel approach to reach and engage young people living with HIV (YPLWH) experiencing barriers to HIV care.

OBJECTIVE:

This study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a text message-based HIV care navigation intervention for YPLWH in San Francisco. Health eNavigation is a 6-month text message-based HIV care navigation where YPLWH are connected to their own HIV care navigator through text messaging to improve engagement in HIV primary care. Digital HIV care navigation included delivery of the following through SMS text messaging: (1) HIV care navigation, (2) health promotion and education, (3) motivational interviewing, and (4) social support.

METHODS:

We evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of a text message-based HIV care navigation intervention among YPLWH. We assessed feasibility using quantitative data for the overall sample (N=120) to describe participant text messaging activity during the intervention. Acceptability was assessed through semistructured, in-depth interviews with a subsample of 16 participants 12 months after enrollment. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using grounded theory.

RESULTS:

Overall, the text message-based HIV care navigation intervention was feasible and acceptable. The majority of participants exhibited medium or high levels of engagement (50/120 [41.7%] and 26/120 [21.7%], respectively). Of the majority of participants who were newly diagnosed with HIV, 63% (24/38) had medium to high engagement. Similarly, among those who were not newly diagnosed, 63% (52/82) had medium to high engagement. The majority of participants found that the intervention added value to their lives and improved their engagement in HIV care, medication adherence, and viral suppression.

CONCLUSIONS:

Text message-based HIV care navigation is a potentially powerful tool that may help bridge the gaps for linkage and retention and improve overall engagement in HIV care for many YPLWH. Our results indicate that participation in text message-based HIV care navigation is both feasible and acceptable across pervasive structural barriers that would otherwise hinder intervention engagement.

KEYWORDS:

HIV/AIDS; digital HIV care navigation; mHealth; young people living with HIV

PMID:
31922489
DOI:
10.2196/16838
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