The exploration of a new intervention in linkage HIV-infected patients in treatment, known as MARTAS, which was implemented by our Institute in Ukraine, has been recognized as having the lowest level of risk of bias. This conclusion comes from a recently published systematic review and meta-analysis of linkage to HIV care interventions in the United States, Canada, and Ukraine over an eleven-year period.
In global practice, the effectiveness of the Anti-Retroviral Treatment and Access to Services (ARTAS) intervention in engaging HIV-infected patients in treatment has been proven. This model ensures that an individual who has just learned about their positive HIV status can immediately receive psychological, informational, and practical support from a medical or social worker and seek qualified assistance and treatment in healthcare settings.
In Ukraine, this successful intervention was modified according to national characteristics (the modified model was named MARTAS) and tested by the Ukrainian Institute on Public Health Policy during 2015-2018 in medical institutions in three regions.
Neduzhko O, Postnov O, Sereda Y, Kulchynska R, Bingham T, Myers JJ, Flanigan T, Kiriazova T. Modified Antiretroviral Treatment Access Study (MARTAS): A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Efficacy of a Linkage-to-Care Intervention Among HIV-Positive Patients in Ukraine. AIDS Behav. 2020 Apr 24 (EN)
The study results demonstrated the high effectiveness of the intervention regarding the timely engagement of individuals with a positive test result in receiving HIV services. Identifying and utilizing the strengths of patients helped them to enhance their self-esteem, and motivation and comprehensive support from medical staff (nurses) served as an effective factor in deciding to start HIV treatment.
In 2021, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA) included the MARTAS intervention in the Compendium of Evidence-based Interventions and Best Practices for HIV prevention.
In 2023, according to the results of the Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Linkage to HIV Care Interventions in the United States, Canada, and Ukraine (2010–2021), the MARTAS study had the lowest risk of bias among other studies analyzed by the authors of the review.