EMOTION – February 2017

EMOTION increases uptake and correct and consistent use of ARV-based HIV prevention products by women at high risk of HIV infection using an end-user centered strategy.

Pilot messaging study completed. Project Siyavala, the pilot messaging study, builds on findings from Project Kalahari, which focused on the “End User Journey” for PrEP and resulted in recommendations for a communication strategy, brand identity, and product design. Project Siyavala focused on generating a deeper understanding of the behavior change stimuli required for consumers and medical professionals to achieve market and public health success.

Data were collected through Human-Centered Design (HCD)-based immersion sessions and interviews, during which participants were shown video messages and print campaign materials and participated in several data generation activities. These included facilitated group discussions, small group work ranking the messages from best to worst, and categorization of appealing messages by the key target audience segments of consumers and health care providers (HCPs). Transcripts from all immersion sessions and interviews were translated into English and rigorously analyzed. Analysis consisted of innovative scientific approaches to preserve the integrity of HCD findings while verifying the reliability, validity, and transferability of results. This portion of the project was overseen by Abt behavioral science researchers in collaboration with Matchboxology, a South African-based HCD firm. Multiple mixed-methods were applied, including quantitative analysis and descriptive statistics, negative hypothesis testing, thematic analysis, Grounded Theory, Phenomology, and Weick’s Model of Organizing.

Siyavala focused on extremely high HIV prevalence areas, as identified by the DREAMS Initiative. These include the peri-urban location of Orange Farm and the Soweto suburb of Protea North in Gauteng, the township of Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, and the rural area of Ngcolosi in the eThekwini District of KwaZulu Natal.

Insights gleaned from consumers (young women and influencers, such as male partners and mothers) were summarized. Key outcomes and recommendations from doctors, nurses, and pharmacists were also obtained. The Siyavala data download meeting on 6 February 2017 revealed all the methodology, insights, and recommendations to EMOTION consortium partners and USAID representatives. A detailed report is being finalized and will be made available in the coming weeks.

Socio-behavioral study underway. Project VOGUE is a socio-behavioral study comparing the HCD-branded experience and product to the unbranded product and standard of care, using objective markers of adherence. The unbranded standard arm of VOGUE will start in Q4 2017, and protocol development is ongoing. Elements defining HCD minimum desirable experience will also be finalized, and messaging/recruitment materials developed from Kalahari/Siyavala will be produced for Project VOGUE. Local ethics committee approvals will be obtained, and clinical supplies will be secured as well.

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