IAS 2019 — New apps developed to support YMSM in PrEP adherence


  • Laura Vargas-Parada, Ph.D.
  • Conference Reports
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Takeaway 

  • 2 free apps, LYNX Study and P3, are available for young men who have sex with men (YMSM). 
  • Apps track sexual behaviors and use of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) adherence.

Why this matters 

  • YMSM represent the principal US population at risk for HIV because of low uptake of HIV testing and PrEP.
  • 96% of 18-29-year-olds have smartphones.

Key results

  • LYNX tracks sexual behaviors to increase perception of real risk, sends testing reminders, provides access to diagnosis, PrEP.
    • Iterative focus groups used to refine the app (n=30; mean age 20 years; 43% black, 43% Hispanic; Chicago, Tampa).  
    • 2-month open pilot (n=16, mean age 22 years, 19% black, 44% Hispanic) tested usability, feasibility, acceptability.
      • 85% very satisfied; and
      • 86% would recommend the app. 
  • P3 addresses barriers to PrEP adherence in YMSM and transwomen.
    • In 1-month field trial, 16 newly starting or reporting PrEP adherence completed computer-assisted survey; dried blood spots collected for PrEP adherence measurement.
    • Mean age, 21.3 years; 25% black, 69% Hispanic; Houston, Philadelphia, the Bronx.
    • Baseline: 50% reported prior PrEP usage and discontinuation, 50% sexually transmitted infection diagnosis, 43.8% condomless anal sex.
    • Retention 94%; self-reported adherence improved from 72.5% to 89.3%.
  • Apps use game-based and chat features. 

Limitations

  • In development, small samples, conference presentation without peer review.