Pilot Award Recipient: Ricardo LaGrange PhD

A Novel mHealth Approach to Promote HIV Management with Substance Abusing Adolescents
March 01, 2012

The issue of non-adherence to antiretroviral (ARV) medication presents a considerable barrier to treatment for adolescents preparing to transition to adult care. This can cause significant public health implications given the increasing rates of adolescents suffering from HIV in the United States. Despite some promising signs, most interventions designed to improve adherence are limited in their ability to transfer newly acquired skills and behaviors from the clinic setting to real life in sustainable ways. Additionally, clinics with limited resources often find implementation of tailored and developmentally appropriate interventions challenging given the additional staff requirements. A more effective means for addressing this problem may include developing and testing an HIV adherence protocol for patients that integrates evidence-based strategies with adolescent friendly technology in an intervention that is clinically efficient and practical. Among many advantages, using mobile technology to implement an ecological momentary intervention has the potential to engage challenging populations, such as substance abusing youth, in care. The proposed investigation is designed to be a feasibility study to develop an innovative HIV adherence intervention known as SmAART (Supportive mHealth Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy) for substance abusing youth using a multimedia, cellular phone-based platform that is interactive and tailored to meet individual participant needs.