Youth Thrive (YT) is a two-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the efficacy of an adapted version of the Thrive With Me intervention for youth living with HIV (YLWH).
In the RCT, intervention participants will have access to the full YouTHrive (YT) website- a mobile-enhanced private social networking website. Using asynchronous peer-to-peer interaction, the YT website is developed to be a safe space for sharing information, where people may feel empowered and supported to make healthy choices around living with HIV. However, to answer any questions and to make sure the space is safe; trained research staff moderate the YT website. Participants are encouraged to participate in the YT social network as much as they are comfortable. YT staff members do post to the feed a few times a week to welcome new members to the site, remind participants of some features of the site, ask some questions to prompt discussions, and to announce the winner of a weekly prize drawing for those who are very active on the site. The YT website presents HIV related content to users every day in the form of Thrive Tips. Thrive Tips are content pieces (text, images, videos) that address barriers to medication adherence as well as general topics about living with HIV. There are 300 total Thrive Tips in the intervention. Two hundred Thrive Tips are each tied to an individual item on a validated survey based on constructs from the Information, Motivation, and Behavioral Skills Theory.
An additional 100 tips will address other topics relevant to our population (i.e. managing illness at school, mental health, etc.). As participants are in the intervention for a longer period of time, they accumulate more Thrive Tips stored in basically an online library. Thrive Tips can be searched by category of information, content recommended for the specific user, content that has been favorited by the user, and tag words. In addition, they have access to a private section of the website where they can track their daily medications and mood using SMS reminders. Responses to daily text messages asking if they have taken their medications yet and how they are feeling in real time are shown to participants in a feature called the Weekly Check-in.
In addition to showing the week’s medication adherence and mood responses, participants are asked to log their substance use, answer a multiple choice question about their week, and are given a private text area to record anything from the week that they want to remember. Participants can review past weeks of adherence, or even share them with a healthcare provider (if they want to), during the entire intervention period. YT was designed for users to have access for 150 days. The site uses some gaming features, such as achievements and badges, to encourage daily use.
Participants assigned to the control condition will receive a weekly email with static content Thrive Tips about living with HIV and general wellbeing. The informational content for control participants will not focus specifically on medication adherence.
YLWH are enrolled for 11 months.
Total study sample is 392 of which the following will be enrolled for each phase: 1) 32 participants for focus groups to inform intervention adaption; 2) 10 participants for usability testing to finalize intervention components; 3) 350 participants for a randomized controlled trial of YT, with participants randomized to either YT (n=175) or control (n=175).
- 15-24 years of age
- Must be in HIV care at a SRV where this study is being conducted
- Currently on ART medication (have an active ART prescription by a health provider)
- Biologically verified detectable VL at baseline (either through medical chart or blood draw during the screening visit)
- English-speaking (since the intervention will be in English)
- Availability to meet with project staff for visits at baseline, follow-up 1, and follow-up 3
- Continuous access to the internet and SMS messaging for the intervention period (no more than anticipated two weeks without internet access)
- To assess the efficacy of the YT intervention to suppress VL among youth living with HIV (YLWH) at the post-intervention time point compared to an HIV information-only control intervention.
- To assess whether YT is more beneficial (lower VL at post-intervention time point) for substance-using than non-substance using YLWH randomized to the YT intervention