Colleen Kelley, MD, the biggest barriers to HIV prevention methods and how to overcome them.
Segment description: Colleen Kelley, MD, associate professor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, discusses the biggest barriers to HIV prevention methods and how to overcome them.
Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):
“Accessibility is a major barrier to implementation of HIV prevention methods. I’m from the Southeast and particularly in the Southeast where we don’t have expansion of Medicaid, we still have a lot of folks who are underinsured—high rates of poverty—a lot of folks just do not have access to medical care.
One way we could improve accessibility is to take a public health approach with prevention intervention such as Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) where the public health system is the one providing PrEP; in Atlanta, our health department provides PrEP free of charge.
If we could increase capacity for other health departments and other public health organizations that deliver services to individuals without access of care, that would really increase accessibility.
In addition to accessibility, we need to help folks understand and improve their self-efficacy around embracing prevention methods. A lot of people don’t necessarily understand that they may be at risk for HIV. Even if they do understand it, they have a lot of optimism that they’re going to be able to either abstain from sex or use condoms on a regular basis. When in reality, we know that it’s really tough for people to do. Things like PrEP are really important as a supplementary or backup method if they’re not able to use condoms 100% of the time.
Helping folks to view PrEP as more of a health-promoting type of behavior as opposed to something that’s only for folks who are at really high risk of HIV is something that I think will also improve uptake of the intervention.”