Microenterprise Intervention to Reduce Sexual Risk Behaviors and Increase Employment and HIV Preventive Practices Among Economically-Vulnerable African-American Young Adults (EMERGE): A Feasibility Randomized Clinical Trial

Larissa Jennings Mayo-Wilson, Jessica Coleman, Fatmata Timbo, Fred M. Ssewamala, Sebastian Linnemayr, Grace T. Yi, Bee Ah Kang, Matthew W. Johnson, Gayane Yenokyan, Brian Dodge, Nancy E. Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Economic vulnerability, such as homelessness and unemployment, contributes to HIV risk among U.S. racial minorities. Yet, few economic-strengthening interventions have been adapted for HIV prevention in this population. This study assessed the feasibility of conducting a randomized clinical trial of a 20-week microenterprise intervention for economically-vulnerable African-American young adults. Engaging MicroenterprisE for Resource Generation and Health Empowerment (EMERGE) aimed to reduce sexual risk behaviors and increase employment and uptake of HIV preventive behaviors. The experimental group received text messages on job openings plus educational sessions, mentoring, a start-up grant, and business and HIV prevention text messages. The comparison group received text messages on job openings only. Primary feasibility objectives assessed recruitment, randomization, participation, and retention. Secondary objectives examined employment, sexual risk behaviors, and HIV preventive behaviors. Outcome assessments used an in-person pre- and post-intervention interview and a weekly text message survey. Several progression criteria for a definitive trial were met. Thirty-eight participants were randomized to experimental (n = 19) or comparison group (n = 19) of which 95% were retained. The comparison intervention enhanced willingness to be randomized and reduced non-participation. Mean age of participants was 21.0 years; 35% were male; 81% were unemployed. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of experimental participants completed ≥ 70% of intervention activities, and 74% completed ≥ 50% of intervention activities. Participation in intervention activities and outcome assessments was highest in the first half (~ 10 weeks) of the study. Seventy-one percent (71%) of weekly text message surveys received a response through week 14, but responsiveness declined to 37% of participants responding to ≥ 70% of weekly text message surveys at the end of the study. The experimental group reported higher employment (from 32% at baseline to 83% at week 26) and lower unprotected sex (79% to 58%) over time compared to reported changes in employment (37% to 47%) and unprotected sex (63% to 53%) over time in the comparison group. Conducting this feasibility trial was a critical step in the process of designing and testing a behavioral intervention. Development of a fully-powered effectiveness trial should take into account lessons learned regarding intervention duration, screening, and measurement. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov. NCT03766165. Registered 04 December 2018. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03766165

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3545-3561
Number of pages17
JournalAIDS and behavior
Volume24
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • African-American
  • Baltimore
  • Clinical trial
  • Economic
  • Feasibility
  • HIV
  • Homeless
  • Sexual risk behaviors
  • Text messages
  • Unemployment
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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