Improving AIDS Care After Trauma (ImpACT): Pilot Outcomes of a Coping intervention Among HIV-Infected Women with Sexual Trauma in South Africa

Kathleen J. Sikkema, Marta I. Mulawa, Corne Robertson, Melissa H. Watt, Nonceba Ciya, Dan J. Stein, Emily M. Cherenack, Karmel W. Choi, Matapelo Kombora, John A. Joska

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28 Scopus citations


Improving AIDS Care after Trauma (ImpACT), a coping intervention for HIV-infected women with sexual abuse histories, was evaluated for feasibility and potential efficacy in a public clinic in Cape Town, South Africa. Sixty-four participants were enrolled prior to starting antiretroviral therapy (ART). After completing baseline assessments, participants were randomly assigned to standard of care (SoC: three adherence counseling sessions) or ImpACT (SoC plus four individual and three group sessions). Participants completed assessments at 3 months (after individual sessions) and 6 months post-baseline. In exploratory analysis of primary outcomes, ImpACT participants, compared to SoC, reported greater reductions in avoidance and arousal symptoms of PTSD and greater increases in ART adherence motivation at 3 months. Clinically significant decreases in overall PTSD symptoms were also demonstrated at 3 months. These effects continued as trends at the 6-month assessment, in addition to increases in social/spiritual coping. In analysis of secondary outcomes, high levels of non-adherence to ART and poor care engagement were evident at 6 months, with no differences between study arms. A trauma-focused, culturally-adapted individual intervention delivered by a non-specialist in the HIV care setting is feasible and acceptable. Preliminary findings suggest ImpACT has potential to reduce PTSD symptoms and increase ART adherence motivation, but a more intensive intervention may be needed to improve and maintain care engagement among this population. Trial Registration: NCT02223390.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1052
Number of pages14
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherence
  • HIV
  • Sexual violence
  • South Africa
  • Traumatic stress


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