Epidemic Interventions Initiative
Despite rapid advances in HIV treatment, prevention remains a challenge and goal throughout the world. Truvada is an FDA approved treatment for HIV, but can it also protect high-risk people from infection? In 2012, the UC-based California HIV/AIDS Research Program launched a bold initiative to find out.
Although considered to be a controversial approach because some HIV/AIDS advocates fear a “prevention pill” might inadvertently promote unsafe sex, CHRP recognized that research—not fear—should inform public health policy and interventions aimed at stemming the spread of HIV.
In partnership with Gilead Sciences, which agreed to provide the drug free of charge for the research, CHRP launched a series of studies to learn if Truvada can be an effective prevention strategy to add to the public health arsenal. Researchers at UCLA, UC San Diego and UCSF have teamed with public health departments and HIV/AIDS community programs in the largest demonstration project of its kind in the U.S.
It’s not just about a potentially powerful pill. Studies are also examining new ways to engage and retain HIV-infected people in care and treatment. Researchers hope that these combined strategies will curb the HIV epidemic in California and guide a national movement toward an AIDS-free generation.
The HIV prevention pill – known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis ) – is being offered to high-risk uninfected men who have sex with men (MSM) and to transgender women (male to female transgendered persons) in Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Beach, Oakland, Richmond, and Berkeley. More than 4,000 Californians will participate in these studies. Matching support valued at $20 million (in the form of the drug product Truvada) is being provided by Gilead Sciences, Inc. of Foster City, CA.
- Los Angeles County: PrEP and TLC+ for HIV Prevention (PATH)
- University of California, San Diego: Active Linkage, Engagement and Retention to Reduce HIV (ALERT)
- East Bay AIDS Center: Connecting Resources for Urban Sexual Health (CRUSH)
Grantees are testing a number of different interventions to improve HIV testing outreach, linkage to HIV care and prevention services, retention in care, and adherence for PrEP. Among these intervention strategies are:
- Outreach and Testing
- Social network HIV testing
- Youth Corps for testing outreach
- Internet testing outreach
- ALERT specialists for linkage and retention
- Re-engagement in care using a Respondent-driven sampling approach
- Retention navigators and Retention specialists
- Clinical linkage specialists
- Warm hand-offs
- HIV- and PrEP
- Individualized text messaging for adherence
- Real time blood drug level feedback for adherence
- Specialized adherence counseling
- Warm hand-offs, ALERT specialists and Clinical linkage specialists
- Sexual health services including repeat HIV/STI testing
Slide Presentations from the 3rd Prep/TLC+ Consortia Meeting – September 2013
- What’s Next for PrEP
- CDC HIV Prevention: PrEP
- WHO: PrEP Guidance
- My PrEP Experience
- iPrex News
In the News
- HIV: New East Bay program gives prevention pill to high-risk youths
- East Bay Renew Efforts To Reduce HIV Infection
- New strategies aim to keep high-risk youth free of HIV infection
- HIV Prevention in a Pill