A third sub-study of the on-going HPTN 071/PopART study has started in the Zambia PopART sites. The Case Control Studies will seek to evaluate the home-based PopART intervention delivered house-to-house by the Community HIV Care Providers (CHiPs). The studies will specifically examine the HIV testing, a key component of the PopART intervention package, and will be progressively rolled out in arms A and B sites in Zambia. In March, the case Control studies will be extended to a further 6 intervention sites in South Africa.
Clinical epidemiologist, Dr Kalpana Sabapathy working on the PopART trial and manager of the Case Control studies explained that the cases are randomly selected to represent the wider community to help PopART researchers understand the features and factors associated with the uptake and non-uptake of the PopART services in the first year of the PopART trial, and adapt the intervention accordingly. “It was always anticipated that not everybody would accept the testing intervention, which is key in Universal Test and Treat approach. We planned this study as part of the main design of the trial to evaluate acceptability of the testing in the intervention after the 1st year to facilitate improvements which may be introduced in the 2nd and 3rd years,”
Dr Sabapathy explained. She said that by looking at differences between 2 groups of cases, researchers will get insight into sub-sets of the community not accepting the PopART intervention and allow them to adapt it in a bid to get those people not accepting the intervention to accept it eventually: “To achieve overall PopART goal of universal home-based testing,” Dr Sabapathy said.
The Case Control studies will run over a period of 2 months and involve 500 people in Zambia, and 300 in South Africa.