ACT on Health Lab

Targeting HIV Retention and Improved Viral Load Through Engagement


The overall aim of the THRIVE project is to develop an effective intervention that will lead out-of-care persons with HIV to re-engage in HIV treatment and self-care.

Background Information

  • Retention in care and viral load suppression remain a challenge for many persons with HIV (PWH), who often turn to maladaptive avoidant coping strategies to deal with stigma, depression, anxiety, and other uncomfortable experiences.
  • Unfortunately, these strategies can keep PWH out of care and exacerbate or maintain the stigma and mental health difficulties that are common in PWH.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is well-suited to help out-of-care PWH overcome the cycle of avoidance by promoting acceptance and engagement in valued-life activities.
  • Finding PWH who are out of care is difficult, but hospitalization is relatively common in PWH and presents an opportunity to re-engage PWH in outpatient care.
  • For out-of-care persons with unsuppressed viral load (VL), re-engagement in care is necessary to improve health. No existing interventions are efficacious for the out-of-care PWH found outside the HIV clinic.

Study Specifications

  • Sample Size for Pilot Study: N=10 over six months 
  • Sample Size for RCT N= 70 over two years
  • Recruiting: ~Ten participants each month
  • Treatment groups: ACT plus Education (ACT) or Treatment as Usual (TAU)

Study Contact


Contact Name: Denise Flores
Phone Number: 713-873-4526