case study

Taking Care of Me

We developed a brief entertainment-education intervention to improve care outcomes for people living with HIV

Client: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Issue

Racial/ethnic and sexual minorities in the U.S. experience persistent disparities in HIV infections and care outcomes.

Effective interventions are needed to improve HIV treatment initiation, medication adherence, and retention in care outcomes for these populations.

The Outcomes

We received a CDC contract to develop and beta-test an entertainment-education video intervention for HIV clinics.

Clinics showing the video had a 10% increase in HIV treatment initiation and 6% improvement in viral suppression.

Taking Care of Me is available on CDC’s Compendium of Evidence-Based Interventions and Best Practices for HIV Prevention.

Publications

Effects of a brief video intervention on treatment initiation and adherence among patients attending human immunodeficiency virus treatment clinics
Neumann MS, Plant A, Margolis AD, Borkowf CB, Malotte CK, Rietmeijer CA, Flores SA, O’Donnell L, Robilotto S, Myint-U A, Montoya JA, Javanbakht M, Klausner JD. PLoS One. 2018;5;13(10):e0204599.

Observed reactions among patients attending HIV treatment facilities to a brief video intervention on treatment initiation and adherence.
Neumann MS, Plant A, Margolis AD, Flores SA. AIDS Care. 2020;32(5):656-665.

Presentations

Taking Care of Me, Educating and Empowering Persons Living with HIV.
Neumann M, Plant A, Margolis A, Borkowf C. Video screened at: American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting; November 4-8, 2017; Atlanta, Georgia.

HIV Care Continuum Disparities

A substantial number of people living with HIV in the United States have not been fully engaged in HIV care services. Although treatment initiation, medication adherence, and retention in care are all key for viral suppression and staying healthy, only about half of people living with HIV have their virus under control. Unsuppressed HIV infection is also the most important factor contributing to HIV incidence, currently estimated at over 35,000 new infections per year in the U.S. Black and Latinx gay/bisexual men and heterosexual women experience persistent disparities in HIV care outcomes, which impact their health and quality of life.

Our study found that Taking Care of Me, a 29-minute video intervention, significantly improves treatment initiation and viral suppression among HIV clinic patients.


Developing the Video Intervention

Sentient Research received a 46-month contract from the CDC to develop and test a new entertainment-education video intervention to address HIV care disparities among minority persons living with HIV. The process for creating and evaluating the video involved close collaboration with the target audience, HIV clinic stakeholders, and CDC staff. This included creating a detailed needs assessment, conducting interviews with HIV clinic managers, and hiring a 9-person review panel of people living with HIV who are diverse in terms of race/ethnicity, age, gender, and geographic location.

We developed Taking Care of Me, a brief video intervention for use in HIV clinic waiting rooms, to improve HIV treatment initiation, medication adherence, and retention in care. The video incorporates key messages into dramatic soap-opera style stories involving diverse characters. Multiple script iterations were reviewed by the review panel and their feedback was integrated into the final video. The resulting 29-minute video includes three entertaining dramatic stories and a 2-part animation about characters who model overcoming challenges to optimal HIV care. Watch the Intervention»

Compared to most other HIV interventions, Taking Care of Me is extremely easy to implement, and is very low burden on staff and clients.

Evaluating the Effects of Taking Care of Me

In addition to developing the video, we also carried out an evaluation study in two HIV clinics with over 2,000 clinic patients from 2016 to 2017. Using clinic medical record data, we compared patient outcomes for the 10-month period while the video was being shown in the waiting room to the 10-month period before showing the video. Among patients exposed to the video, there was an overall 10% increase in treatment initiation and a 6% improvement in viral suppression.

We also conducted a novel observation study in each of the clinic study sites to assess client engagement with the video. Results of the observation study and beta-testing were used to make small refinements before the video launched. Our study found that a very brief video intervention can have powerful impacts on HIV care continuum outcomes. Compared to most other HIV interventions, Taking Care of Me is extremely easy to implement, and is very low burden on staff and clients.

Taking Care of Me is included in CDC’s Compendium of Evidence-Based Interventions and Best Practices for HIV Prevention and is available free of cost for clinics and other organizations.