Online Program

Lessons learned from a randomized controlled trial of a uniquely targeted group-based HIV prevention intervention among young transwomen

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 4:50 p.m. - 5:10 p.m.

Jane Hereth, MSW, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Lisa Kuhns, PhD, MPH, Adolescent Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Sari Reisner, ScD, Epidemiology/ The Fenway Institute, Harvard School of Public Health/ Fenway Health, Boston, MA

Matthew Mimiaga, ScD, MPH, Department of Epidemiology/ Department of Psychiatry, Harvard School of Public Health/ Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Robert Garofalo, MD, MPH, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Background: LifeSkills is an on-going multi-site (Chicago and Boston) randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a uniquely targeted group-based HIV risk reduction intervention for sexually active young transgender women (YTW), ages 16 to 29—a population at high risk for HIV infection. The purpose of this presentation is to describe “lessons learned” regarding the research process.

Methods: Enrolled participants completed a baseline assessment (sexual risk, HIV/STI screening), were randomized to one of three study arms (intervention, testing-only, attention control)  and completed follow-up assessments at 4, 8 and 12-months post-randomization. We conducted basic descriptive analysis to characterize the sample and held debriefing sessions with research staff to identify lessons learned.

Results: From April 2012 through February 2015, 424 volunteers completed screening and 363 (86%) were eligible. Of those eligible, 261 (72%) enrolled in the study and 206 (79%) of those enrolled were randomly assigned; enrollment will continue through June of 2015. The sample is 47.3% African American, 12.1% Latina, 25% White and 15.6% other with a mean age of 23 years (SD= 3.5). To date, we retained 87.5%, 88.5% and 89% at 4, 8, and 12-month follow-up, respectively. Challenges to recruitment and retention included competing economic interests, housing instability, incarceration, and the hidden nature of the population as well as understanding/acceptance of the randomization process. Study staff developed innovative strategies to address these issues.

Conclusions: Recruitment of young transwomen into behavioral HIV prevention intervention trials is feasible, but challenging, with challenges addressed using strategies not often described in the conduct of RCTs. 

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe sexual risk for HIV acquisition and transmission among young transgender women. Describe challenges to recruitment and retention of young transwomen in HIV prevention intervention research and strategies to address these challenges.

Keyword(s): HIV Interventions, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Jane Hereth, MSW, is a Senior Behavioral Research Coordinator at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago's Center for Gender, Sexuality, and HIV Prevention. She is also a doctoral student in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Her research and social work practice areas of interest include eliminating health disparities among LGBTQ youth.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.