Text Message Intervention Increases PrEP Adherence in MSM At Risk for HIV

An interactive text messaging intervention improves pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) adherence in a study of young people at risk for HIV.

An interactive text messaging intervention increased pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) adherence in a study of young people at risk for HIV, highlighting an effective intervention for improving usage in key populations.

Interventions for improving both access and adherence to PrEP is critical for preventing new HIV infections. While uptake of the treatment has skyrocketd since the approval

of Gilead’s Truvada for HIV prevention in 2012, disparities in usage persist and adherence levels remain inadequate, underscoring the need for interventions.

“Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) are among the highest at-risk for HIV in the US, with black and Latino MSM accounting for over three-quarters of new infections among young YMSM in 2015,” wrote the researchers of the study. “Furthermore, youth are the least likely to initiative PrEP, and discontinuation rates are high.”

In the study of more than 121 YMSM, those who used the support intervention, PrEPmate, were more likely to attend study visits and have higher rates of adherence to the treatment. The study randomized participants 2:1 to receive PrEPmate intervention versus standard of care for 9 months between April 2015 and March 2016. Standard of care included a risk assessment, PrEP education, and brief adherence and risk-reduction counseling; clinical evaluation, medical management, and PrEP dispensation by a clinician; and access to a pager to contact a clinician as needed.

The 2-way PrEPmate intervention included daily pill-taking reminder text messages sent at a customized time consisting of fun facts and trivia for 2 weeks following initiation of PrEP, with the option of continuing reminders throughout the study, as well as weekly check in messages asking how the treatment was going. The intervention also included online components, such as a website providing access to information about PrEP, videos and testimonials of peers taking PrEP, and an online support forum.

Click to continue reading on The American Journal of Managed Care.