Global WACh

August 5, 2019

Dr. Kristin Beima-Sofie awarded 2019 CFAR NIA to design strategies for data-informed caregiver intervention to improve adolescent HIV outcomes

We are delighted to announce Dr. Kristin Beima-Sofie (Acting Assistant Professor, Global Health) is a recipient of the 2019 UW/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) New Investigator Award!  The award offers start-up funding for junior investigators to conduct independent HIV/AIDS research to support future scholarly endeavors.  Dr. Beima-Sofie’s study titled, “Developing a data-informed caregiver intervention to improve adolescent HIV,” will explore perspectives of caregivers of adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV) and key stakeholders in Kenya to design an intervention that equips caregivers with the knowledge and social support skills to most effectively improve ALHIV health outcomes.

Compared to adults and children, ALHIV have lower rates of retention in HIV care and viral suppression.  As more HIV-infected children on ART survive into adolescence in sub-Saharan Africa, global health researchers are prioritizing ways to improve care within heavily burden healthcare systems.  There is increasing recognition of needing strong, nurturing relationships between ALHIV and their caregivers to help adolescents to adjust socially and psychologically living with HIV.  Caregiver support can increase adolescents’ understanding and acceptance of HIV care and support services, encourage adherence to treatment, and learn decision-making skills to prevent risk-associated behaviors.

Dr. Beima-Sofie’s new study leverages an ongoing UG3/UH3 grant (PIs: Grace John-Stewart, Pamela Kohler) that aims to implement a data-driven intervention using a stepped care model—a model of delivering the most effective and least resource-intensive treatment first, then “stepping up” to more intensive treatment—to inform public health decision-making and improve adolescent HIV care in Kenya. The New Investigator Award will contribute to this study by adding valuable insight into caregiver attributes that may influence ALHIV health outcomes.

Dr. Beima-Sofie and Global WACh co-investigators Dr. Keshet Ronen (Clinical Assistant Professor, Global Health) and Dr. Irene Njuguna (PhD Candidate, UW Epidemiology; Infectious Disease Researcher, Kenyatta National Hospital) will survey 300 caregivers of ALHIV at six HIV treatment facilities in Kenya and surrounding catchment areas.  They will host a workshop for up to 50 key stakeholders (caregivers, adolescents, healthcare workers, and policymakers) to apply user-centered design strategies to develop a locally tailored caregiver intervention.  This study hopes to enable the design of a larger effectiveness trial to explore the intervention’s impact on clinical and behavioral outcomes in adolescents and their caregivers in Kenya.  Dr. Beima-Sofie has a team of Department of Global Health faculty serving as mentors, including Drs. Grace John-Stewart, Jane Simoni, Gabrielle O’Malley and from the University of Nairobi Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Dalton Wamalwa.