Development and pilot testing of an intervention to promote care engagement and adherence among HIV-positive Kenyan MSM
OBJECTIVES: In many African settings, MSM are a stigmatized group whose access to and engagement in HIV care may be challenging. Our aim was to design a targeted, culturally appropriate intervention to promote care engagement and antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence for MSM in coastal Kenya, and describe intervention safety, feasibility, and acceptability based upon a small pilot study. DESIGN: Based on qualitative work including in-depth interviews with HIV-positive MSM and focus groups with providers, we developed a tailored intervention and conducted a pilot test to refine intervention materials and procedures. METHODS: The Shikamana intervention combines modified Next-Step Counseling by trained providers, support from a trained peer navigator, and tailored use of SMS messaging, phone calls, and discrete pill carriers. Providers, including counselors and clinicians, work together with peer navigators as a case management team. RESULTS: Forty HIV-positive MSM aged 19-51 participated in intervention development and testing. Six counselors, three clinical officers, and four MSM peers were trained in intervention procedures. Of 10 ART-naive participants who enrolled in the pilot, eight completed follow-up with no adverse events reported. One participant was lost to follow-up after 2 months and another failed to initiate ART despite ongoing counseling. No adverse events were reported. Staff feedback and exit interviews rated the intervention as feasible and acceptable. CONCLUSION: This adherence support intervention tailored for Kenyan MSM was well tolerated, feasible, and acceptable in the pilot phase. A randomized controlled trial of a scaled-up programme to estimate intervention efficacy is ongoing.