Background: Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) accounted for 67% of new US human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in 2012; however, less than 40% of HIV-positive GBMSM are virally suppressed. Preventing transmission from virally unsuppressed men who have condomless anal sex (CAS) with serodiscordant partners is a public health imperative. New HIV infections in GBMSM are attributed in part to online access to sex partners; therefore, low-cost eHealth interventions are a unique opportunity to reach men where they meet partners.
Objective: To describe the protocol of a randomized controlled trial evaluating whether video-based messaging delivered online may lead to reductions in serodiscordant CAS and increased HIV disclosure.
Methods: Sex Positive![+] is a two-arm, phase III, video-based randomized controlled trial delivered online to GBMSM living with HIV. Participants in the intervention arm receive 10 video vignettes grounded in social learning and social cognitive theories that are designed to elicit critical thinking around issues of HIV transmission and disclosure. Participants in the attention control arm receive 10 video vignettes that focus on healthy living. All videos are optimized for mobile viewing. The study protocol includes five online assessments conducted over a 1-year period among 1500 US white, black, or Hispanic/Latino GBMSM living with HIV who report suboptimal antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence or a detectable viral load in the past 12 months and recent CAS (past 6 months) with HIV-negative or unknown status male partners. Compared to the control arm, we hypothesize that men who watch the intervention videos will report at 12-month follow-up significantly fewer serodiscordant CAS partners, increased HIV disclosure, and improved social cognition (eg, condom use self-efficacy, perceived responsibility).
Results: Participant recruitment began in June 2015 and ended in December 2015.
Conclusions: This protocol describes the underlying theoretical framework and measures, study design, recruitment challenges, and antifraud measures for an online, video-based randomized controlled trial that has the potential to decrease HIV transmission risk behaviors among HIV-positive GBMSM who struggle with ART adherence. The Sex Positive![+] intervention allows forHIV-positive GBMSM who are virally unsuppressed.
ClinicalTrial: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02023580; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02023580 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6iHzA8wRG)
Hirshfield, Sabina; Downing, Martin J. Jr.; Parsons, Jeffrey T.; Grov, Christina; Gordon, Rachel J.; Houang, Steven T.; Scheinmann, Roberta; Sullivan, Patrick S.; Yoon, Irene S.; Anderson, Ian; and Chiasson, Mary Ann, "Developing a Video-Based eHealth Intervention for HIV-Positive Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial" (2016). CUNY Academic Works.