September 17, 2016

PrEP Yourself With Free Digital Tools!

The workshop session entitled, “Let’s Talk about PrEP! Greater Than AIDS Free Digital Tools” was held on Friday, September 16 at the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA). During the session, Robbyn Kistler, Media Partnerships Consultant for Kaiser Family Foundation’s Greater Than AIDS—an organization founded to address the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic—shared information about free digital tools the organization has developed for HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) education.

One of the digital tools highlighted during the session was the #AskTheHIVDoc YouTube series, which includes brief videos featuring three doctors with HIV expertise answering commonly asked questions about HIV. The series has a sub collection of videos titled “Let’s Talk About Prep!,” that address various PrEP-related topics. Dr. Leandro Mena, from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, is one of the doctors featured in the series, and he was also a speaker at the session. Dr. Mena discussed the barriers that prevent more people from accessing PrEP, (such as how many primary care physicians lack knowledge about the drug), and he detailed the solutions he is implementing in Mississippi to address such barriers.

Additional videos are also available on the Greater Than AIDS website, including the HIV Beats YouTube series which features social media personalities who break down information about PrEP and other HIV-related topics. Ms. Kistler also discussed other PrEP resources that are available on the Greater Than AIDS website, including a Q&A on their “I Got Tested: What’s Next?” campaign page, which addresses commonly asked questions about what to do after receiving the results of an HIV test.

A video from the “Empowered” campaign was also played during the session. “Empowered” emphasizes “the power of all women to change the course of the disease.” The video features Phoebe, a young transgender female and a Greater Than AIDS Ambassador, speaking about the reasons why she decided to start taking PrEP. Phoebe, who was also part of the session’s panel of speakers, talked to the audience about her experience seeking PrEP treatment and why she joined the “Empowered” campaign.

Dr. Aaron Siegler from Emory University, and Jack Harrison-Quintana, the director of Grindr for Equality (an initiative of the social networking app to raise awareness of LGBTQ rights and issues), rounded out the session’s panel of speakers. Dr. Siegler discussed the recently launched PrEp Locator, a national directory of PrEP providers across the 50 states. The directory currently includes over 1,200 providers. It was developed by Emory University with guidance from a coalition of partners including Greater Than AIDS. In addition, a handy PrEP Locator widget can be embedded on other websites.  Mr. Harrison-Quintana talked about the efforts that have been implemented by Grindr for Equality to raise awareness about PreP through geo-targeted messages on the Grindr app, and the positive impact these efforts have had; a 2016 survey of Grindr users found that 1 in 5 respondents who are on PrEP today cited Grindr for Equality messaging as having a direct impact on their decision to talk to their doctor about it.