Findings from the HPTN 065 study showed that cash incentives can increase viral suppression and regular clinic attendance among people living with HIV (PLWH). Based in the Bronx, NY and Washington, DC, this large, community-based, clinical trial randomized 39 HIV care sites to financial incentives or standard of care. The purpose of this part of the study was to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of financial incentives on viral suppression among PLWH who were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Study results were published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine on June 19, 2017.
The overall proportion of PLWH with viral suppression was 4% higher at financial incentive sites compared to standard‑of‑care sites. At the peak of the intervention (after financial incentives had been in place for 18 months), the proportion of PLWH who were virally suppressed was 5% higher at financial incentive sites. Additionally, regular clinic attendance was 9% higher at financial incentive sites.
Results from HPTN 065 provide key information for programs in the United States that aim to decrease the transmission of HIV through expanded HIV testing and treatment. The study also helps inform the design of future research on the use of financial incentives to influence health behaviors.