Retention of South African Adolescents in a 54-Month Longitudinal HIV Risk Reduction Trial

July 2017 - Behavioral Prevention

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Icard, L.D., Jemmott, J.B., Carty, C., et al. Prevention Science (May 2017), e-publication ahead of print, doi: 10.1007/s11121-017-0793-1.

This study examined strategies that affected adolescent retention in an HIV/sexually transmitted infection risk reduction trial at 42 and 54 months post-enrollment. Before the 42-month assessment, additional staff were hired and trained to address retention through a case management approach. Retention staff met with participants’ teachers and posted study contact information within schools, which encouraged participants to update their contact information for the study. Participants not found within schools received home visits and text messages. Teachers were recruited to provide participants with transportation to their appointments. Local radio stations and a free newspaper also issued reminders about the reestablishment of study activities. Participants who attended the 42-month session were sent thank-you cards as incentive to return to the 54-month session. There were 1,056 grade six study participants who initially enrolled; at long-term follow-up they had entered into 200 different high schools. The retention rate at 42 months was 91 percent, and retention at 54 months was 99.2 percent. Participants aged 9–13 were more likely to be retained than those aged 14–18 years. The authors concluded that addressing adolescent retention required building relationships with community leaders, including teachers and community advisory boards, as well as using a case management approach and developing a database to monitor participant contact information frequently.

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