Study protocol of a randomized controlled trial comparing two linkage models for HIV prevention and treatment in justice-involved persons

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BACKGROUND: Persons involved in the justice system are at high risk for HIV and drug overdose upon release to the community. This manuscript describes a randomized controlled trial of two evidence-based linkage interventions for provision of HIV prevention and treatment and substance use disorder (SUD) services in four high risk communities to assess which is more effective at addressing these needs upon reentry to the community from the justice system. METHODS: This is a 5-year hybrid type 1 effectiveness-implementation randomized controlled trial that compares two models (Patient Navigation [PN] or Mobile Health Unit [MHU] service delivery) of linking justice-involved individuals to the continuum of community-based HIV and SUD prevention and treatment service cascades of care. A total of 864 justice-involved individuals in four US communities with pre-arrest histories of opioid and/or stimulant use who are living with or at-risk of HIV will be randomized to receive either: (a) PN, wherein patient navigators will link study participants to community-based service providers; or (b) services delivered via an MHU, wherein study participants will be provided integrated HIV prevention/ treatment services and SUD services. The six-month post-release intervention will focus on access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for those without HIV and antiretroviral treatment (ART) for people living with HIV (PLH). Secondary outcomes will examine the continuum of PrEP and HIV care, including: HIV viral load, PrEP/ ART adherence; HIV risk behaviors; HCV testing and linkage to treatment; and sexually transmitted infection incidence and treatment. Additionally, opioid and other substance use disorder diagnoses, prescription, receipt, and retention on medication for opioid use disorder; opioid and stimulant use; and overdose will also be assessed. Primary implementation outcomes include feasibility, acceptability, sustainability, and costs required to implement and sustain the approaches as well as to scale-up in additional communities. DISCUSSION: Results from this project will help inform future methods of delivery of prevention, testing, and treatment of HIV, HCV, substance use disorders (particularly for opioids and stimulants), and sexually transmitted infections for justice-involved individuals in the community. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT05286879 March 18, 2022.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 15 2022


  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • Justice involvement
  • Mobile health unit
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Patient navigator
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis
  • PrEP
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Stimulant use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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