Freya Spielberg

George Washington University, Washington, Washington, D.C., United States

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Publications (30)110.66 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Results of a recent demonstration project evaluating feasibility, acceptability, and cost of a Web-based sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and e-prescription treatment program (eSTI) suggest that this approach could be a feasible alternative to clinic-based testing and treatment, but the results need to be confirmed by a randomized comparative effectiveness trial. We modeled a decision tree comparing (1) cost of eSTI screening using a home collection kit and an e-prescription for uncomplicated treatment versus (2) hypothetical costs derived from the literature for referral to standard clinic-based STI screening and treatment. Primary outcome was number of STIs detected. Analyses were conducted from the clinical trial perspective and the health care system perspective. The eSTI strategy detected 75 infections, and the clinic referral strategy detected 45 infections. Total cost of eSTI was $94,938 ($1266/STI detected) from the clinical trial perspective and $96,088 ($1281/STI detected) from the health care system perspective. Total cost of clinic referral was $87,367 ($1941/STI detected) from the clinical trial perspective and $71,668 ($1593/STI detected) from the health care system perspective. Results indicate that eSTI will likely be more cost-effective (lower cost/STI detected) than clinic-based STI screening, both in the context of clinical trials and in routine clinical care. Although our results are promising, they are based on a demonstration project and estimates from other small studies. A comparative effectiveness research trial is needed to determine actual cost and impact of the eSTI system on identification and treatment of new infections and prevention of their sequelae.
    Sexually transmitted diseases 01/2015; 42(1):13-9. DOI:10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000221 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: We examined the acceptability, feasibility, and cost of a fully integrated online system (eSTI) for sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, treatment, and linkage to care with 4 Northern California health departments. Methods: In April 2012, we implemented the eSTI system, which provided education; testing of self-collected vaginal swabs for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis; e-prescriptions; e-partner notification; and data integration with clinic electronic health records. We analyzed feasibility, acceptability, and cost measures. Results: During a 3-month period, 217 women aged 18 to 30 years enrolled; 67% returned the kit. Of these, 92% viewed their results online. STI prevalence was 5.6% (chlamydia and trichomoniasis). All participants with STIs received treatment either the same day at a pharmacy (62%) or within 7 days at a clinic (38%). Among participants completing follow-up surveys, 99% would recommend the online eSTI system to a friend, and 95% preferred it over clinic-based testing within a study. Conclusions: The fully integrated eSTI system has the potential to increase diagnosis and treatment of STIs with higher patient satisfaction at a potentially lower cost.
    American Journal of Public Health 10/2014; 104(12):e1-e8. DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302302 · 4.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Evaluate a computerized intervention supporting antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence and HIV transmission prevention. Longitudinal RCT. An academic HIV clinic and a community-based organization in Seattle. 240 HIV-positive adults on ART; 209 completed nine-month follow-up (87% retention). Randomization to computerized counseling or assessment-only, 4 sessions over 9 months. HIV-1 viral suppression, and self-reported ART adherence, and transmission risks, compared using generalized estimating equations. Overall, intervention participants had reduced viral load (VL): mean 0.17 log10 decline, versus 0.13 increase in controls, p = 0.053, and significant difference in ART adherence baseline to 9 months (p = 0.046). Their sexual transmission risk behaviors decreased (OR = 0.55, p = 0.020), a reduction not seen among controls (OR = 1.1, p = 0.664), and a significant difference in change (p = 0.040). Intervention effect was driven by those most in need: among those with detectable virus at baseline (>30 copies/milliliter, n=89), intervention effect was mean 0.60 log10 VL decline versus 0.15 increase in controls, p=0.034. ART adherence at the final follow-up was 13 points higher among intervention participants versus controls, p = 0.038. Computerized counseling is promising for integrated ART adherence and safer sex, especially for individuals with problems in these areas. This is the first intervention to report improved ART adherence, viral suppression, and reduced secondary sexual transmission risk behavior.
    JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 12/2013; 65(5). DOI:10.1097/QAI.0000000000000100 · 4.56 Impact Factor
  • Ann E Kurth · Anneleen Severynen · Freya Spielberg
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    ABSTRACT: HIV testing in emergency departments (EDs) remains underutilized. The authors evaluated a computer tool to facilitate rapid HIV testing in an urban ED. Randomly assigned nonacute adult ED patients were randomly assigned to a computer tool (CARE) and rapid HIV testing before a standard visit (n = 258) or to a standard visit (n = 259) with chart access. The authors assessed intervention acceptability and compared noted HIV risks. Participants were 56% nonWhite and 58% male; median age was 37 years. In the CARE arm, nearly all (251/258) of the patients completed the session and received HIV results; four declined to consent to the test. HIV risks were reported by 54% of users; one participant was confirmed HIV-positive, and two were confirmed false-positive (seroprevalence 0.4%, 95% CI [0.01, 2.2]). Half (55%) of the patients preferred computerized rather than face-to-face counseling for future HIV testing. In the standard arm, one HIV test and two referrals for testing occurred. Computer-facilitated HIV testing appears acceptable to ED patients. Future research should assess cost-effectiveness compared with staff-delivered approaches.
    AIDS education and prevention: official publication of the International Society for AIDS Education 08/2013; 25(4):287-301. DOI:10.1521/aeap.2013.25.4.287 · 1.51 Impact Factor
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections 07/2013; 89(Suppl 1):A41-A41. DOI:10.1136/sextrans-2013-051184.0128 · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Providers in emergency care settings (ECSs) often face barriers to expanded HIV testing. We undertook formative research to understand the potential utility of a computer tool, "CARE," to facilitate rapid HIV testing in ECSs. Computer tool usability and acceptability were assessed among 35 adult patients, and provider focus groups were held, in two ECSs in Washington State and Maryland. The computer tool was usable by patients of varying computer literacy. Patients appreciated the tool's privacy and lack of judgment and their ability to reflect on HIV risks and create risk reduction plans. Staff voiced concerns regarding ECS-based HIV testing generally, including resources for follow-up of newly diagnosed people. Computer-delivered HIV testing support was acceptable and usable among low-literacy populations in two ECSs. Such tools may help circumvent some practical barriers associated with routine HIV testing in busy settings though linkages to care will still be needed.
    AIDS education and prevention: official publication of the International Society for AIDS Education 06/2011; 23(3):206-21. DOI:10.1521/aeap.2011.23.3.206 · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article highlights findings from an evaluation that explored the impact of mobile versus clinic-based testing, rapid versus central-lab based testing, incentives for testing, and the use of a computer counseling program to guide counseling and automate evaluation in a mobile program reaching people of color at risk for HIV. The program's results show that an increased focus on mobile outreach using rapid testing, incentives and health information technology tools may improve program acceptability, quality, productivity and timeliness of reports. This article describes program design decisions based on continuous quality assessment efforts. It also examines the impact of the Computer Assessment and Risk Reduction Education computer tool on HIV testing rates, staff perception of counseling quality, program productivity, and on the timeliness of evaluation reports. The article concludes with a discussion of implications for programmatic responses to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's HIV testing recommendations.
    AIDS education and prevention: official publication of the International Society for AIDS Education 06/2011; 23(3 Suppl):110-6. DOI:10.1521/aeap.2011.23.3_supp.110 · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    AIDS education and prevention: official publication of the International Society for AIDS Education 06/2011; 23(3 Suppl):1-6. DOI:10.1521/aeap.2011.23.3_supp.1 · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adherence problems with coitally dependent, female-initiated HIV prevention methods have contributed to several trials' failure to establish efficacy. Continuous use of a cervical barrier with once-daily cleaning and immediate reinsertion may simplify use for women and improve adherence. We assessed the acceptability and safety of precoital and continuous use of the Duet, a cervical barrier and gel delivery system, in Zimbabwean women. Using a two-arm crossover design with a parallel observation group, we randomized 103 women in a 2:2:1 ratio: (1) to use the Duet continuously for 14 days, followed by a minimum of seven days of washout and then 14 days of precoital use; (2) to use the same Duet regimens in reverse order; or (3) for observation only. Women were aged 18 to 40 years; half were recruited from a pool of previous diaphragm study participants and the other half from the general community. Acceptability and adherence were assessed through an interviewer-administered questionnaire at each of two follow-up visits. Safety was monitored through pelvic speculum exams and report of adverse events. The proportion of women who reported consistent Duet use during sex was virtually identical during continuous and precoital regimens (88.6% vs. 88.9%). Partner refusal was the most common reason cited for non-use during sex in both use regimens. Not having the device handy was the most common reason cited for non-daily use (in the continuous regimen). Most women were "very comfortable" using it continuously (86.3%) and inserting it precoitally (92.8%). The most favoured Duet attribute was that it did not interfere with "natural" sex (55%). The least favoured Duet attribute was the concern that it might come out during sex (71.3%). No serious adverse events were reported during the study; 57 participants reported 90 adverse events classified as mild or moderate. There were no statistically significant differences in: (1) the proportion of women reporting adverse events; (2) the severity of events among those using the Duet and observational controls; or (3) event severity reported during each regimen use period. In this study, the Duet was found to be acceptable and safe when inserted precoitally or used continuously for 14 days. Assignment to use of the Duet continuously did not increase adherence to the Duet during sex. Future HIV prevention trials should evaluate use of the Duet (precoitally and continuously) with promising microbicide candidates.
    Journal of the International AIDS Society 08/2010; 13(1):30. DOI:10.1186/1758-2652-13-30 · 5.09 Impact Factor
  • Sara Kim · Freya Spielberg · Larry Mauksch · Stu Farber · Cuong Duong · Wes Fitch · Tom Greer
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    ABSTRACT: We compared multiple-choice and open-ended responses collected from a web-based tool designated 'Case for Change', which had been developed for assessing and teaching medical students in the skills involved in integrating sexual risk assessment and behaviour change discussions into patient-centred primary care visits. A total of 111 Year 3 students completed the web-based tool. A series of videos from one patient encounter illustrated how a clinician uses patient-centred communication and health behaviour change skills while caring for a patient presenting with a urinary tract infection. Each video clip was followed by a request for students to respond in two ways to the question: 'What would you do next?' Firstly, students typed their statements of what they would say to the patient. Secondly, students selected from a multiple-choice list the statements that most closely resembled their free text entries. These two modes of students' answers were analysed and compared. When articulating what they would say to the patient in a narrative format, students frequently used doctor-centred approaches that focused on premature diagnostic questioning or neglected to elicit patient perspectives. Despite the instruction to select a matching statement from the multiple-choice list, students tended to choose the most exemplary patient-centred statement, which was contrary to the doctor-centred approaches reflected in their narrative responses. Open-ended questions facilitate in-depth understanding of students' educational needs, although the scoring of narrative responses is time-consuming. Multiple-choice questions allow efficient scoring and individualised feedback associated with question items but do not fully elicit students' thought processes.
    Medical Education 07/2009; 43(6):533-41. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2923.2009.03368.x · 3.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We studied the HIV risk behaviors of patrons of the 3 commercial sex venues for men in Seattle, Washington. We conducted cross-sectional, observational surveys in 2004 and 2006 by use of time-venue cluster sampling with probability proportional to size. Surveys were anonymous and self-reported. We analyzed the 2004 data to identify patron characteristics and predictors of risk behaviors and compared the 2 survey populations. Fourteen percent of respondents reported a previous HIV-positive test, 14% reported unprotected anal intercourse, and 9% reported unprotected anal intercourse with a partner of unknown or discordant HIV status during the current commercial sex venue visit. By logistic regression, recent unprotected anal intercourse outside of a commercial sex venue was independently associated with unprotected anal intercourse. Sex venue site and patron drug use were strongly associated with unprotected anal intercourse at the crude level. The 2004 and 2006 survey populations did not differ significantly in demographics or behaviors. Patron and venue-specific characteristics factors may each influence the frequency of HIV risk behaviors in commercial sex venues. Future research should evaluate the effect of structural and individual-level interventions on HIV transmission.
    American Journal of Public Health 03/2009; 99 Suppl 1(8):S165-72. DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2007.130773 · 4.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Early diagnosis of persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through diagnostic testing and screening is a critical priority for individual and public health. Emergency departments (EDs) have an important role in this effort. As EDs gain experience in HIV testing, it is increasingly apparent that implementing testing is conceptually and operationally complex. A wide variety of HIV testing practice and research models have emerged, each reflecting adaptations to site-specific factors and the needs of local populations. The diversity and complexity inherent in nascent ED HIV testing practice and research are associated with the risk that findings will not be described according to a common lexicon. This article presents a comprehensive set of terms and definitions that can be used to describe ED-based HIV testing programs, developed by consensus opinion from the inaugural meeting of the National ED HIV Testing Consortium. These definitions are designed to facilitate discussion, increase comparability of future reports, and potentially accelerate wider implementation of ED HIV testing.
    Academic Emergency Medicine 01/2009; 16(2):168-77. · 2.01 Impact Factor
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    Jeffrey A Kelly · Freya Spielberg · Timothy L McAuliffe
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    ABSTRACT: The efficacy of behavioral HIV prevention interventions has been convincingly demonstrated in a large number of randomized controlled phase 3 research outcome trials. Little research attention has been directed toward studying the effectiveness of the same interventions when delivered by providers to their own clients or community members, however. This article argues for the need to conduct phase 4 effectiveness trials of HIV prevention interventions that have been found efficacious in the research arena. Such trials can provide important information concerning the impact of interventions when applied in heterogeneous "real-world" circumstances. This article raises design issues and methodologic questions that need to be addressed in the conduct of phase 4 trials of behavioral interventions. These issues include the selection and training of service providers engaged in such trials, maintenance of fidelity to intervention protocol in provider-delivered interventions, determination of intervention core elements versus aspects that require tailoring, selection of relevant phase 4 study outcomes, interpretation of findings indicative of field effectiveness, sustainability, and other aspects of phase 4 trial design.
    JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 04/2008; 47 Suppl 1(Supplement 1):S28-33. DOI:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181605c77 · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To explore use of an interactive health communication tool--"Computer Assessment and Risk Reduction Education (CARE) for STIs/HIV." This was a mixed method study utilizing participant observation and in-depth interviews with patients (n = 43), and focus groups with staff (5 focus groups, n = 41) from 5 clinics in 3 states (1 Planned Parenthood, 1 Teen, 2 STD, and 1 mobile van clinic). Data were managed using Atlas.ti. Inter-rater reliability of qualitative coding was .90. Users were 58% nonwhite with mean age 24.7 years (74% < 25). Patients could use CARE with minimal to no assistance. Time for session completion averaged 29.6 minutes. CARE usefulness was rated an average of 8.2 on an ascending utility scale of 0 to 10. Patient themes raised as strengths were novelty, simplicity, confidentiality, personalization, and plan development, increased willingness to be honest, lack of judgment, and a unique opportunity for self-evaluation. Staff themes raised as strengths were enhanced data collection, handout customization, education standardization, behavioral priming, and expansion of services. Patient limitation themes included limited responses and lack of personal touch. Staff limitation themes were selecting users, cost, patient-provider role, privacy, and time for use. CARE was well-received and easily usable by most (especially 18-25-year-olds). Patient and staff perceptions support the use of CARE as an adjunct to usual practice and as a method to expand services. Honesty, reduced time constraints, and lack of judgment associated with CARE appeared to enhance self-evaluation, which may prove an important component in moving patients forward in the behavior change process.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 06/2007; 40(6):572.e9-16. DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.01.013 · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research links high rates of unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) with men who go to bathhouses; however, the literature provides no prevalence estimates. An exit survey of a probability sample was conducted to describe the prevalence of risk activity at the bathhouse. Data are from a 2-stage probability sample of men exiting a gay bathhouse (n = 400). During their visit, 91.5% of men had oral sex and 44.2% had anal sex (11.1% reported UAI and 5.5% reported unprotected receptive anal intercourse). In the prior 3 months, 85% reported having anal sex, which was more likely to be unprotected when it occurred in a private home or hotel as opposed to a public setting (P < 0.001). Moreover, having UAI at home was a significant correlate of risk during the bathhouse visit (P < 0.001). Most men at the bathhouse engaged in oral sex rather than anal sex, and most anal sex included use of condoms. Furthermore, men were more likely to have UAI in a private home than in any public setting. The bathhouse seems to have facilitated condom use when anal sex occurred on-site.
    JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 06/2007; 45(2):231-8. DOI:10.1097/QAI.0b013e318055601e · 4.56 Impact Factor
  • Sara L.C. Mackenzie · Ann E. Kurth · Freya Spielberg
    Journal of Adolescent Health 02/2006; 38(2):134–135. DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2005.11.119 · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In surveys, clients have expressed preferences for alternatives to traditional HIV counseling and testing. Few data exist to document how offering such alternatives affects acceptance of HIV testing and receipt of test results. This randomized controlled trial compared types of HIV tests and counseling at a needle exchange and 2 bathhouses to determine which types most effectively ensured that clients received test results. Four alternatives were offered on randomly determined days: (1) traditional test with standard counseling, (2) rapid test with standard counseling, (3) oral fluid test with standard counseling, and (4) traditional test with choice of written pretest materials or standard counseling. Of 17,010 clients offered testing, 7014 (41%) were eligible; of those eligible, 761 (11%) were tested: 324 at the needle exchange and 437 at the bathhouses. At the needle exchange, more clients accepted testing (odds ratio [OR] = 2.3; P < 0.001) and received results (OR = 2.6; P < 0.001) on days when the oral fluid test was offered compared with the traditional test. At the bathhouses, more clients accepted oral fluid testing (OR = 1.6; P < 0.001), but more clients overall received results on days when the rapid test was offered (OR = 1.9; P = 0.01). Oral fluid testing and rapid blood testing at both outreach venues resulted in significantly more people receiving test results compared with traditional HIV testing. Making counseling optional increased testing at the needle exchange but not at the bathhouses.
    JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 04/2005; 38(3):348-55. · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    David G. Hendry · Sara Mackenzie · Ann Kurth · Freya Spielberg · Jim Larkin
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    ABSTRACT: The evaluation of paper prototypes is normally conducted in controlled settings such as a usability lab. This paper, in contrast, reports on a study where evaluations of a paper prototype were performed on the street with young adults. We discuss the merits of this approach and how it impacted the design process. A key finding is that the street location can enfranchise people who may otherwise be under-represented in design. We conclude that evaluating paper prototypes in public, street settings is feasible and informative.
    Extended Abstracts Proceedings of the 2005 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2005, Portland, Oregon, USA, April 2-7, 2005; 01/2005
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to compare reporting between audio computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI) and clinician-administered sexual histories. The goal of this study was to explore the usefulness of ACASI in sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics. The authors conducted a cross-sectional study of ACASI followed by a clinician history (CH) among 609 patients (52% male, 59% white) in an urban, public STD clinic. We assessed completeness of data, item prevalence, and report concordance for sexual history and patient characteristic variables classified as socially neutral (n=5), sensitive (n=11), or rewarded (n=4). Women more often reported by ACASI than during CH same-sex behavior (19.6% vs. 11.5%), oral sex (67.3% vs. 50.0%), transactional sex (20.7% vs. 9.8%), and amphetamine use (4.9% vs. 0.7%) but were less likely to report STD symptoms (55.4% vs. 63.7%; all McNemar chi-squared P values <0.003). Men's reporting was similar between interviews, except for ever having had sex with another man (36.9% ACASI vs. 28.7% CH, P <0.001). Reporting agreement as measured by kappas and intraclass correlation coefficients was only moderate for socially sensitive and rewarded variables but was substantial or almost perfect for socially neutral variables. ACASI data tended to be more complete. ACASI was acceptable to 89% of participants. ACASI sexual histories may help to identify persons at risk for STDs.
    Sex Transm Dis 01/2005; 31(12):719-26. DOI:10.1097/01.olq.0000145855.36181.13 · 2.84 Impact Factor
  • Freya Spielberg · Ruth O Levine · Marcia Weaver
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    ABSTRACT: Self-testing has the potential to be an innovative component to community-wide HIV-prevention strategies. This testing method could serve populations who do not have access to standard voluntary counselling and testing services or because of privacy concerns, stigma, transport costs, or other barriers do not use facility-based, standard HIV testing. This paper reviews recent research on the acceptability, feasibility, and cost of rapid testing and home-specimen collection for HIV, and suggests that self-testing may be another important strategy for diagnosing HIV infection. Several research questions are posed that should be answered before self-testing is realised.
    The Lancet Infectious Diseases 11/2004; 4(10):640-6. DOI:10.1016/S1473-3099(04)01150-8 · 22.43 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

732 Citations
110.66 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • George Washington University
      • Department of Prevention and Community Health
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 2009–2011
    • RTI International
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 2000–2008
    • University of California, San Francisco
      San Francisco, California, United States
  • 2000–2007
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Family Medicine
      Seattle, Washington, United States