The Ottawa Hospital
The purpose of this study is to determine whether a psycho-educational intervention can help people living with HIV handle the challenges of treatment adherence. The study will examine the impact of a particular psycho-educational intervention, titled Supportive Therapy for Adherence to Antiretroviral Treatment (STAART), on readiness for treatment, treatment knowledge, coping with side effects, treatment adherence and quality of life. Participants in this study must have an HIV viral load greater than 500 copies/ml, and be starting a highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) regimen or changing to a new antiretroviral treatment regimen. Each participant will be randomly assigned to one of two study groups:
All participants will fill out questionnaires at study entry and four weeks after study entry. The questionnaires will include questions about participants’ mood, health beliefs, stress level and feelings about HIV medications. If a participant begins a treatment regimen, they will be asked to complete more questionnaires on the day the medications are started and at follow-up visits four weeks, six months and one year after the medication start date. These questionnaires will include questions about starting treatment and treatment adherence.
The study plans to enroll 112 participants at The Ottawa Hospital.
Supportive Therapy for Adherence to Antiretroviral Treatment (STAART) is a psychological intervention involving sessions with a therapist, readings and questionnaires. It aims to help HIV-positive people adhere to their antiretroviral treatment regimens. The STAART intervention will be offered to participants shortly before they begin a treatment regimen in order to enhance their psychological readiness for treatment adherence. Note: A high level of adherence to antiretroviral treatment regimens is necessary in order to maximize the success of the treatment, to limit the development of resistance to particular drugs and to reduce the risk of the treatment failing.