November 20, 2009
Using federal stimulus funds, the National Institutes of Health has awarded $1 million grants to two HIV studies that will be conducted by University of California-San Francisco researchers.
The first study will examine mobile phone text-messaging to improve treatment adherence among HIV patients who face complex regimens. More than 250 participants from San Francisco General Hospital's Positive Health Program will be involved, said Dr. James S. Kahn, a professor of clinical medicine in the UCSF program.
The method has been tried before, "but not for our patients, who are on the opposite side of the digital divide and who don't have as many resources as other persons receiving health care," Kahn said. "We'll know whether this is useful or not within two years."
The second study will test the feasibility and acceptability of a self-administered, Web-based drug and alcohol intervention to improve HIV treatment adherence and prevent transmission. The strategy involves patients screening for drug and alcohol use, a brief intervention and referral for treatment (SBIRT). In one SBIRT group, patients will be able to access information securely online from their own medical records. This will be compared with a provider-administered protocol during clinic appointments.
"We are hoping to find out whether patients are more open to responding to sensitive topics with a self-administered, Web-based approach than they are talking directly with their clinician," said Carol Dawson-Rose, an associate nursing professor at UCSF's Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.