1290. A Model for “At-Distance” PrEP Navigation: Acceptability and Early Insights
Session: Poster Abstract Session: HIV: Prevention
Friday, October 5, 2018
Room: S Poster Hall
  • 1290_IDWPOSTER FINAL.pdf (3.1 MB)
  • Background: HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) awareness and uptake among at-risk individuals remains suboptimal despite clear evidence of efficacy. Health navigators and peer educators have been employed to facilitate linkage and retention in many aspects of HIV prevention and care, including to improve PrEP utilization. Yet, the use of health navigators to improve PrEP utilization has not been well-explored in rural areas where unique challenges to HIV care have been well documented. Little is known, too, about how telemedicine may strengthen these efforts. We assessed acceptability and evaluated a health navigation program that primarily engages clients through at-distance technology-based methods.

    Methods: To guide the design and implementation of a pilot PrEP tele-navigation program, we conducted a survey in at-risk clients contacted through social networks and at a state-funded STI clinic in New Hampshire. Approximately nine months after the launch of the navigation platform, we analyzed characteristics of client-navigator interactions. Feedback surveys were distributed to clients 3 months following engagement with the navigator.

    Results: From July 2017 to April 2018, 139 individuals engaged the navigator program via email, text, chat, phone call, or in-person. Among the most common services provided were PrEP counseling (n=63 or 45% of inquiries), referral to STI/HIV testing (22%), and risk reduction counseling (19%). Eight clients have been linked to PrEP care to-date. Qualitative analysis of client-navigator interactions revealed a variety of recurring barriers expressed by clients including concerns maintaining confidentiality with parents and partners, side effects of PrEP, and financial constraints. Clients provided suggestions for program improvement and indicated they felt engagement with the program increased knowledge of PrEP as well as linkage to testing and HIV prevention services.

    Conclusion: Our pilot program highlighted the diverse obstacles to PrEP utilization in at-risk rural clients, and suggests at-distance PrEP navigation and telemedicine can support improved PrEP utilization in the rural United States. Such a navigator program should be equipped to engage clients along the PrEP care continuum.

    Jacob Perlson, BS1, Blake Kruger, BS2, Sravanthi Padullaparti, MPP, MS2, Elizabeth Eccles, MS, RN3 and Tim Lahey, MD, MMSc1, (1)Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, NH, (2)The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, Lebanon, NH, (3)Section of Infectious Disease and International Health, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH


    J. Perlson, None

    B. Kruger, None

    S. Padullaparti, None

    E. Eccles, None

    T. Lahey, None

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