Young racial and ethnic minority men who have sex with men (MSM) and trans women are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS in the United States. Unrecognized infection, due to a low uptake of HIV testing, and poor linkage to care are driving forces of ongoing HIV transmission among young racial and ethnic minority MSM and trans women. Internet and mobile technologies, in combination with social network-based approaches, offer great potential to overcome and address barriers to care and effectively disseminate interventions.
We describe Health eNavigation (Health eNav), a digital HIV care navigation intervention that extends supportive care structures beyond clinic walls to serve youth and young adults living with HIV who are newly diagnosed, not linked to care, out of care, and not virally suppressed, at times when they need support the most.
This study leverages ecological momentary assessments for a period of 90 days and uses person-delivered short message service text messages to provide participants with digital HIV care navigation over a 6-month period. We aim to improve engagement, linkage, and retention in HIV care and improve viral suppression. Digital HIV care navigation includes the following components: (1) HIV care navigation, (2) health promotion, (3) motivational interviewing, and (4) digital social support.
Recruitment began on November 18, 2016; enrollment closed on May 31, 2018. Intervention delivery ended on November 30, 2018, and follow-up evaluations concluded on October 31, 2019. In this paper, we present baseline sample characteristics.
We discuss real-world strategies and challenges in delivering the digital HIV care navigation intervention in a city-level, public health setting.