Home-Based Monitoring Tests May Boost PrEP Adherence

FEBRUARY 07, 2019
Laurie Saloman, MS
Although pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has proven to be a boon for people at risk of contracting HIV, among its burdens are the need to schedule in-person follow-up visits with clinicians as many as 4 times a year.

To reduce the likelihood of people giving up on PrEP because of difficulty committing to multiple annual visits, a team of investigators created PrEP@Home, a home-based monitoring system that will allow people on the PrEP regimen to meet with their health care providers just once a year, its creators say. They recently conducted a study measuring how well PrEP@Home worked, and the results were promising.

The investigators, from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School in Boston, and other institutions, followed 55 men recruited from clinics in San Francisco, St. Louis, and Boston, who reported having at least 1 male anal sex partner within the past year and who were prescribed PrEP at 1 of these clinic visits.
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Several weeks before their next scheduled clinic visit, each participant received a box containing self-collection specimen containers, a prepaid mailer for the specimens, and the phone number for a round-the-clock help line. The participants were also asked to watch an instructional video prior to providing urine samples, blood samples collected through finger pricking, and nasal and rectal swabs, all of which they mailed to a laboratory. They also filled out behavioral surveys.

Based on the survey and specimen results, nearly all participants were eligible to receive refills of their PrEP medication without having to visit a clinician in person. The average participant rating of PrEP@Home was “good,” with 85% saying they would prefer at-home testing to in-person visits for the upcoming year. And 22 out of the 55 subjects claimed that PrEP@Home would make it more likely that they’d continue taking PrEP.
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A version of this article was originally published by our sister publication Contagion. View the full article at ContagionLive.com.