This is one of the three Cochrane reviews that examine the role of the telephone in HIV/AIDS services. Although HIV infection can be prevented, still a large number of new infections occur. More effective HIV prevention interventions are needed to reduce the number of people newly infected with HIV. Phone calls can be used to potentially more effectively deliver HIV prevention interventions. They have the potential to save time, reduce costs and facilitate easier access.
To assess the effectiveness of voice landline and mobile telephone delivered HIV prevention interventions in HIV-negative persons.
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, PubMed Central, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health, the World Health Organization's Global Health Library and Current Controlled Trials from 1980 to June 2011. We searched the following grey literature sources: Dissertation Abstracts International and the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International Direct Global Health database, the System for Information on Grey Literature Europe, The Healthcare Management Information Consortium, Google Scholar, Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections database, International AIDS Society conference database, AIDS Education Global Information System and reference lists of articles.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), quasi-randomised controlled trials, controlled before and after studies, and interrupted time series studies comparing the effectiveness of delivering HIV prevention by phone calls to usual care in HIV-negative people regardless of their demographic characteristics and in all settings.
Two reviewers independently searched databases, screened citations, assessed study quality and extracted data. A third reviewer resolved any disagreement. Primary outcomes were knowledge about the causes and consequences of HIV/AIDS, change in behaviour, healthcare uptake and clinical outcomes. Secondary outcomes were users' and providers' views on the intervention, economic outcomes and adverse outcomes.
Out of 14,717 citations, only one study met the inclusion criteria. The included RCT recruited women and girl children who received post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) after rape from sexual assault services in South Africa between August 2007 and May 2008.Participants (n (number) =274) were randomised into a telephone support (n=136) and control (n=138) group. Control group participants received usual care (an interactive information session) from the sexual assault service during the 28 days in which they had to take PEP, with no further contact from the study staff. Telephone support group participants received standard care and phone calls from a counsellor throughout the 28 days when they had to take PEP.Overall, adherence to PEP was not significantly (P=0.13) different between the intervention (38.2%) and control (31.9 %) groups. Also, the proportion of participants who read a pamphlet, did not return to collect medication or with a depression were not significantly different between the intervention and control groups (P=0.006, P=0.42, P=0.72 respectively). The proportion of participants who used a diary was significantly (P=0.001) higher in the intervention group (78.8%) versus the control group (69.9%). The study authors reported that there were no recorded adverse events. The RCT did not provide information about participants' and providers' evaluation outcomes, or economic outcomes. The study had a moderate risk of bias.