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Digital Health Interventions Increase Adherence to HIV PrEP

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends digital health interventions to increase adherence to HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)—medicine that reduces the risk of getting HIV when taken as prescribed. A systematic review of evidence from seven studies shows interventions improve both consistent pill taking and retention in PrEP care, thus improving health for population groups who are not infected with HIV and engage in behaviors that may increase their chances of getting HIV. This recommendation supports the Ending the Epidemic in the U.S. External Web Site Icon initiative from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Review results showed that when compared with standard care, digital health interventions increased “good adherence” to HIV PrEP (defined as taking four or more doses of PrEP per week) by a median of 11.1%. “Excellent adherence” (defined as taking seven doses of PrEP per week) increased by a median of 122.4%.

What Are Digital Health Interventions to Increase Adherence to HIV PrEP?

These interventions use text messages, mobile apps, phone calls, or websites to deliver reminders, guidance, and support that may be tailored to an individual’s needs. Participants must be HIV-negative and have a prescription for PrEP consistent with CDC guidelines.1 Digital health interventions provide one or more of the following:

  • Information about HIV, PrEP and strategies for medication adherence
  • Services such as automated or interactive feedback, online forum discussions, virtual support groups, or adherence tracking intended to motivate participants
  • Regular reminders for medications, virtual check-in appointments, and clinic visits

Interventions may be combined with in-person activities such as one-on-one counseling, peer-led group sessions, or patient navigation.

Why is this important?

Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America External Web Site Icon is the operational plan developed by agencies across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to pursue the goal to reduce new HIV infections by 75% in 5 years and 90% in 10 years. For the United States to achieve these goals, steps must be taken to prevent new HIV infections. When taken daily as prescribed, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by 99% and from injection drug use by at least 74%.2

For More Information:

References

1 U.S. Public Health Service. Preexposure Prophylaxis for the Prevention of HIV Infection in the United States – 2021 Update: A Clinical Practice Guideline. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2021.

2 CDC. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). CDC, 2022. Available from URL: www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/prep/. Accessed 7/12/22.