Rationale, study design and sample characteristics of a randomized controlled trial of directly administered antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected prisoners transitioning to the community - A potential conduit to improved HIV treatment outcomes

Ali Shabahang Saber-Tehrani, Sandra A. Springer, Jingjun Qiu, Maua Herme, Jeffrey Wickersham, Frederick L. Altice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: HIV-infected prisoners experience poor HIV treatment outcomes post-release. Directly administered antiretroviral therapy (DAART) is a CDC-designated, evidence-based adherence intervention for drug users, yet untested among released prisoners. Methods: Sentenced HIV-infected prisoners on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and returning to New Haven or Hartford, Connecticut were recruited and randomized 2:1 to a prospective controlled trial (RCT) of 6. months of DAART versus self-administered therapy (SAT); all subjects received case management services. Subjects meeting DSM-IV criteria for opioid dependence were offered immediate medication-assisted treatment. Trained outreach workers provided DAART once-daily, seven days per week, including behavioral skills training during the last intervention month. Both study groups were assessed for 6. months after the intervention period. Assessments occurred within 90. days pre-release (baseline), day of release, and then monthly for 12. months. Viral load (VL) and CD4 testing was conducted baseline and quarterly; genotypic resistance testing was conducted at baseline, 6 and 12. months. The primary outcome was pre-defined as viral suppression (VL. < 400. copies/mL) at 6. months. Results: Between 2004 and 2009, 279 participants were screened, of which 202 met eligibility criteria and 154 were ultimately enrolled in the study; 103 subjects were randomized to DAART and 51 to SAT. Subjects were mostly male (81.2%), people of color (87.0%), had an alcohol use disorder (39.7%), had underlying depression (54.2%), were virally suppressed (78.8%) and had a mean CD4 = 390.7. cells/mL. Conclusions: Outcomes from this RCT will contribute greatly to HIV treatment outcomes after release from prison, a period associated with adverse HIV and other medical consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-444
Number of pages9
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Adherence
  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Directly administered antiretroviral therapy (DAART)
  • Prisoners
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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