A randomized controlled trial of cash incentives or peer support to increase HCV treatment for persons with HIV who use drugs: The CHAMPS study

Kathleen M. Ward, Oluwaseun Falade-Nwulia, Juhi Moon, Catherine G. Sutcliffe, Sherilyn Brinkley, Taryn Haselhuhn, Stephanie Katz, Kayla Herne, Lilian Arteaga, Shruti H. Mehta, Carl Latkin, Robert K. Brooner, Mark S. Sulkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background. Despite access to direct-acting antivirals, barriers to a hepatitis C virus (HCV) cure persist, especially among persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (PLWH) who use drugs. Interventions such as peer mentors or cash incentives may improve the care continuum. Methods. The CHAMPS (Chronic HepAtitis C Management to ImProve OutcomeS) study randomized 144 PLWH, recruited from an outpatient clinic, with substance use disorders into three treatment groups: Usual care (UC) (n = 36), UC plus cash incentives (n = 54), and UC plus peer mentors (n = 54) to evaluate HCV treatment uptake and cure. All participants received 12-weeks of ledipasvir/sofosbuvir (LDV/SOF). Trained peer mentors had well-controlled HIV and HCV. Cash incentives were contingent on visit attendance (maximum $220). The primary endpoint was HCV treatment initiation; secondary endpoints included sustained virologic response (SVR) and HCV reinfection. Results. The majority of participants were male (61%), Black (93%), and unemployed (85%). Depression and active drug and alcohol use were common. Overall, 110 of 144 (76%) participants initiated LDV/SOF. Although treatment initiation rates were higher in PLWH randomized to peers (83%, 45 of 54) or cash (76%, 41 of 54) compared to UC (67%, 24 of 36), these differences were not statistically significant (P = .11). Most PLWH who initiated treatment achieved SVR (100 of 110, 91%). LDV/SOF was well tolerated; peers and cash had no effect on drug and alcohol use during therapy. One individual from the cash cohort experienced HCV reinfection. Conclusion. After removal of system barriers, one-third of PLWH in UC did not initiate HCV treatment. Among those who initiated, SVR rates were high. Research involving PLWH who use drugs should focus on overcoming barriers to treatment initiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Cash incentives
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Peer mentor
  • Substance use disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology


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