PrEP and targeted intervention strategies effective in high risk adolescent sexual minority males
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) along with targeted implementation strategies have the potential to significantly reduce HIV incidence among high risk, adolescent sexual minority males (ASMM), according to a recent study developed by the University of Washington and Emory University. ASMM are males 18 years of age or younger who identify as gay or bisexual or are sexually active with other males.
ASMM have significant HIV risk and in 2015, made up 80 percent of the youth who were newly infected with HIV. The research team developed an agent-based network model of HIV transmission to measure the impact and efficiency of PrEP uptake, estimate HIV incidence for 10 years and compare epidemic outcomes.
The model utilized cohorts of 13 to18-year-old ASMM and data from youth behavioral surveys and a recent demonstration project of PrEP among ASMM. Results from the model suggest that PrEP initiation can have a major impact on the reduction of HIV incidence among adolescents, especially in high incidence settings.
"We know that enrolling ASMM in PrEP will be challenging, so we considered different possible strategies. We found that having providers ask adolescent males just a single question about their sexual health once a year from ages 16 to 18 could be both a feasible and efficient way to reach this community," says study author Steven Goodreau.
Complete findings are available in the Journal of Adolescent Health.