Hep-Safe Hollywood

Homeless, stimulant-using gay/bisexual men and transgender women are at high risk for hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and HIV infection due to high rates of injection drug use and high-risk sexual behaviors. Thus, use of stimulants threatens to intensify homeless persons’ risk of exposure to hepatitis B, C viruses and HIV; therefore, research focused on this group is critical. A contingency management (CM) intervention may be particularly well suited for this high-risk population. CM is an intervention that attempts to modify a targeted behavior by providing incentives for changing that behavior (in simple terms, positive reinforcement). CM interventions have been successfully implemented among stimulant-using gay and bisexual men to reduce drug use and concomitant sexual risk behaviors.

The Hep-Safe Hollywood study will implement a CM intervention to increase successful HAV/HBV vaccination completion programs among homeless, stimulant-using gay/bisexual men and transgender in Hollywood. This randomized, control trial will assign 500 homeless, stimulant-using gay and bisexual men to either an enhanced nurse case managed program, which includes specialized education and CM, or a standard program, which includes brief education and CM. This study is innovative in that it will allow us to look at the effect of an enhanced nurse case management and CM program versus a standard brief education and CM program. The study will evaluate the effectiveness of homeless, stimulant-using gay/bisexual men and transgender women on completion of the HAV/HBV vaccine and, secondarily, on reduction of risk for hepatitis and HIV. Additionally, the study will assess the relative cost of these programs in terms of completion of the vaccine series. The study combines best strategies to approach, engage and intervene with this hidden and high-risk population and to assess the feasibility and efficacy of interventions that may prove beneficial in preventing hepatitis A, B, C and HIV infections.

This study is a collaboration between UCLA School of Nursing and Friends Research Institute, with Dr. Adeline Nyamathi, as the principal investigator.