Smartphone-based incentives for promoting adherence to antiretroviral therapy: A randomized controlled trial

Anthony DeFulio, Amanda Devoto, Haily Traxler, David Cosottile, Michael Fingerhood, Paul Nuzzo, Jesse Dallery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Antiretroviral therapy can improve the lives of people living with HIV and reduce the rate of transmission. However, high levels of adherence are required. Some people living with HIV, including people who use drugs, are at elevated risk for non-adherence. Contingency management is a promising intervention for promoting adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Barriers to adoption of contingency management include lack of provider expertise and implementation effort. To address these barriers, a smartphone-based adherence intervention was developed. HIV + people with a substance use disorder were required to submit video selfies of medication consumption that met validity criteria. Monetary incentives were delivered to participants via reloadable debit cards, contingent upon a valid video. The intervention was evaluated in a small (n = 50) randomized controlled trial. Intervention participants submitted 75% of possible videos, and 81% of videos met validity criteria, indicating a high level of usability. Participants also rated the intervention as highly acceptable. Adherence was measured as the percent of participants who achieved a 95% adherence threshold, and also as the overall percent of days in which participants were adherent to their antiretroviral therapy. The former showed a significant effect for group, (p = .034) but this was not maintained when adjusting for stratification variables as covariates (p = .094). The latter measure showed a significant group × time interaction. Smartphone-based contingency management is a promising method for promoting adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Assessing the cost-benefit of the intervention and development of strategies for long-term adherence are priorities for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101318
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Adherence
  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Contingency management
  • HIV
  • Incentives
  • Smartphone
  • mHealth
  • remote intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Smartphone-based incentives for promoting adherence to antiretroviral therapy: A randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this