Mobile PrEP Services Effective in Engaging Priority Populations

The mobile unit provided services to 229 clients from October 2018 to April 2019, 168 (73.7%) of whom sought PrEP.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has revolutionized the landscape of HIV transmission, effectively cutting down the risk of acquisition for individuals considered high risk. But issues with uptake and access have kept PrEP from taking off within certain priority populations such as black and Hispanic/Latino men who have sex with men (MSM).

Investigators at the University of Miami evaluated a model involving implementation of mobile PrEP, HIV prevention, cancer screening, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) services in 4 local HIV high-incidence areas where PrEP services were lacking. Their findings were presented at IDWeek 2019.

Mobile services were offered via the Sylvester Gamechanger vehicle, which was staffed by a medical provider, HIV/PrEP counselor, and cancer educator, and returned to each site regularly. Patients were recruited by self-referrals, as well as a campaign by Prevention305, a community-based organization that developed focused patient recruitment via social media.

The data collected included normative demographics, risk behavior, STIs, and early-maintenance-in-care information, and services were provided at no cost.

The mobile unit provided services to 229 clients from October 2018 to April 2019, 168 (73.7%) of whom sought PrEP. Of those PrEP clients, 125 (74.4%) identified as White/Hispanic, 6 (3.5%) Black/Hispanic, 6 (3.5%) White/non-Hispanic, 11 (6.5%) Black/non-Hispanic, and 19 (11.3%) other.

A total of 94.9% PrEP clients identified as MSM, and 6 of them (3.5%) were HIV positive at baseline.

“An initial PrEP prescription was filled by 166 (98.8%). Of the 77 clients seen within the initial 3 months of operation and due for follow-up assessment, 55 (71.4%) completed a follow-up visit,” investigators reported. “Overall, 45 (26.6%) PrEP clients had positive STI results (gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis) at baseline. Nine (16.3%) clients returned positive STI results at their follow-up visit.”

Investigators concluded that mobile HIV prevention services, including PrEP, are feasible and effective in engaging priority populations.

“High demand for services is noted and plans are underway to increase capacity and outreach to other highly affected groups,” the research team noted.

The study, PrEP On the Go! Implementation Mobile PrEP, STI, and HIV Prevention Services in South Florida, was presented in an oral abstract session on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at IDWeek in Washington, DC.