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Sabin LL, Halim N, Hamer DH, Simmons EM, Jonnalagadda S, Larson Williams A, Chemusto H, Gifford AL, Bonawitz R, Aroda P, DeSilva M, Gasuza J, Mukasa B, Messersmith LJ. Retention in HIV Care Among HIV-Seropositive Pregnant and Postpartum Women in Uganda: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. AIDS and behavior. 2020 Nov 1; 24(11):3164-3175.
We tested an intervention that aimed to increase retention in antiretroviral therapy (ART) among HIV-positive pregnant and postpartum women, a population shown to be vulnerable to poor ART outcomes. 133 pregnant women initiating ART at 2 hospitals in Uganda used real time-enabled wireless pill monitors (WPM) for 1 month, and were then randomized to receive text message reminders (triggered by late dose-taking) and data-informed counseling through 3 months postpartum or standard care. We assessed "full retention" (proportion attending all monthly clinic visits and delivering at a study facility; "visit retention" (proportion of clinic visits attended); and "postpartum retention" (proportion retained at 3 months postpartum). Intention-to-treat and per protocol analyses found that retention was relatively low and similar between groups, with no significant differences. Retention declined significantly post-delivery. The intervention was unsuccessful in this population, which experiences suboptimal ART retention and is in urgent need of effective interventions.