AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 12, pp 3618–3629 | Cite as

Project nGage: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Dyadic Network Support Intervention to Retain Young Black Men Who Have Sex With Men in HIV Care

  • Alida Bouris
  • Kaitlyn Jaffe
  • Rebecca Eavou
  • Chuanhong Liao
  • Lisa Kuhns
  • Dexter Voisin
  • John A. Schneider
Original Paper


HIV-positive young black MSM (YBMSM) experience poor outcomes along the HIV care continuum, yet few interventions have been developed expressly for YBMSM retention in care. Project nGage was a randomized controlled trial conducted across five Chicago clinics with 98 HIV-positive YBMSM aged 16–29 between 2012 and 2015. The intervention used a social network elicitation approach with index YBMSM (n = 45) to identify and recruit a support confidant (SC) to the study. Each index-SC dyad met with a social worker to improve HIV-care knowledge, activate dyadic social support, and develop a retention in care plan. Each index and SC also received four mini-booster sessions. Control participants (n = 53) received treatment as usual. Surveys and medical records at baseline, 3-, and 12-months post-intervention assessed visit history (3 or more visits over 12 months; primary outcome), and sociodemographic, network, social-psychological, and behavioral factors. At baseline, there were no differences in age (M = 23.8 years), time since diagnosis (M ≤ 2 years), clinic visits in the previous 12 months (M = 4.1), and medication adherence (68.6 ≥ 90% adherence). In multivariate logistic regression analysis, intervention participants were 3.01 times more likely to have had at least 3 provider visits (95% CI 1.0–7.3) than were control participants over 12 months. Project nGage demonstrates preliminary efficacy in improving retention in care among YBMSM. Results suggest that engaging supportive network members may improve key HIV care continuum outcomes.


Young black men who have sex with men Randomized controlled trial Retention in HIV care Social support Social networks 



This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (R34MH097622, R01DA039934 and R01DA033875). Identifier: NCT01726712. This manuscript was also made possible with help from the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research (P30 AI 117943). We would like to thank the study participants for their participation and Milton “Mickey” Eder, Molly Pilloton, Natasha Flatt, Tim Walsh, Tiffany Washington, Keisha Hampton and Montre Washington for their valuable contributions to the project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical Approval

All protocols and policies for this study were approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Chicago. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Service AdministrationUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Chicago Center for HIV EliminationUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Third Coast Center for AIDS ResearchUniversity of Chicago and Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Department of SociologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  5. 5.Department of MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  6. 6.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  7. 7.Division of Adolescent MedicineAnn & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  8. 8.Feinberg School of MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

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