Project Summary

This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.

What is the research about?

New medicines allow patients with HIV to live long and healthy lives if they get regular medical care and take their medicines as prescribed. African Americans and Latinos have higher rates of HIV and are less likely to get or continue HIV care compared with whites.

Baltimore, Maryland, has one of the highest HIV rates of any U.S. city. In this study, the research team is comparing two ways to help African Americans and Latinos living in Baltimore to get ongoing HIV care. The first way is a program called Linkage to Care. This program identifies patients with HIV who aren’t receiving care. The program connects patients to care by making a same-day appointment and providing transportation to a clinic.

The second way is Linkage to Care plus a phone app. The app helps patients communicate with a Linkage to Care team member who knows about their health needs. The app also

  • Helps patients make appointments
  • Sends patients appointment reminders
  • Helps patients refill medicines
  • Allows patients to ask a Linkage to Care team member questions about care and resources
  • Sends patients text messages that promote HIV management behaviors
  • Alerts the Linkage to Care team if lab results show high levels of the virus in the patient’s blood

Who can this research help?

Results may help health departments when considering ways to help African-American and Latino patients with HIV to get and continue HIV care.

What is the research team doing?

The research team is enrolling patients who receive Linkage to Care services from the Baltimore City Health Department. Study participants have a new diagnosis of HIV or have HIV and have not received routine health care. The team is assigning patients by chance to receive Linkage to Care alone or with the app. After one year, the team is looking at health department records to see if patients are still receiving care and to check the level of virus in their blood.

Patients with HIV and Linkage to Care team members are helping to design and improve the app.

Research methods at a glance

Design Element Description
Design Randomized controlled trial
Population 500 adults ages 18 and older who have a new or existing HIV diagnosis and who aren’t getting care and live in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Linkage to Care

  • Linkage to Care plus phone app

Primary: HIV viral load <200 copies/cc

Secondary: retention in care

Timeframe 1-year follow-up for primary outcome

Project Information

Kathleen Page, MD
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Leveraging mHealth and Peers to Engage African Americans and Latinos in HIV Care

Key Dates

November 2018
April 2025

Study Registration Information


Award Type
Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Populations Populations PCORI is interested in research that seeks to better understand how different clinical and health system options work for different people. These populations are frequently studied in our portfolio or identified as being of interest by our stakeholders. View Glossary
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: September 26, 2023