Featured Article: Getting the Most from HIV/AIDS Interventions

January 28, 2016:Kari KuglerLinda Collins

A new article in AIDS and Behavior introduces to HIV and AIDS researchers the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST), a framework for developing and evaluating optimized interventions. Methodology Center researchers Linda Collins and Kari Kugler and their collaborator Marya Gwadz of New York University wrote the article, “Optimization of Multicomponent Behavioral and Biobehavioral Interventions for the Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS.” The authors explain the benefits of MOST within the context of a hypothetical intervention targeting people who live with HIV/AIDS and drink alcohol at hazardous levels. The authors explore MOST’s potential for answering questions that a traditional approach to intervention development cannot address.
Linda explained the rationale for using MOST: “MOST can be used to develop optimized behavioral and biobehavioral interventions in the HIV field and other areas. It enables scientists to engineer interventions to meet specific standards of effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and scalability. This is accomplished by looking inside the ‘black box’ of multicomponent interventions by using highly efficient randomized experiments.”

MOST is a comprehensive, principled, engineering-inspired framework. MOST includes a randomized controlled trial (RCT) for intervention evaluation, but also includes other phases of research before the RCT, unlike the standard approach to intervention development. The three phases of MOST—preparation, optimization, and evaluation—are aimed at intervention optimization using criteria selected by the scientist. The goal may be to develop a cost-effective intervention, an intervention that achieves a specified level of effectiveness, the briefest intervention that achieves a minimum level of effectiveness, or any other reasonable and explicitly operationalized goal.

Open the article.

Collins, L. M., Kugler, K. C., & Gwadz, M. V. (2016).  Optimization of multicomponent behavioral and biobehavioral interventions for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.  AIDS and Behavior, 20, 197-214.

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