Delivering HIV prevention medication online: findings from a qualitative study exploring the acceptability of an online HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) care pathway among service users and healthcare professionals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objective: Eliminating HIV transmission worldwide could become a reality with the advent of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) where people take HIV medication to prevent HIV acquisition. Incorporating digital health into PrEP provision could help services scale up and meet increasing demand. We aimed to explore the prospective acceptability of a novel online PrEP care pathway (the ePrEP clinic) among PrEP users and healthcare professionals. The ePrEP clinic is composed of online postal self-sampling for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, an online consultation, and remote medication provision.

Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 15 PrEP users recruited from a large sexual health service and online cohort, and focus groups with nine healthcare professionals from the same sexual health service (May to December 2021). We analysed data using framework analysis.

Results: Participants found the ePrEP clinic highly acceptable, anticipating that it would provide convenience, empower PrEP users, and increase capacity within sexual health services. The need for blood self-sampling was a considerable barrier for some. Participants anticipated that the ePrEP clinic would be appropriate for established PrEP users with adequate digital health literacy and no medically significant conditions requiring in-clinic monitoring. Participants highlighted the need for support, including access to in-clinic care, and the integration of the ePrEP clinic within existing services.

Conclusions: Our findings provide clear justification for the development of the ePrEP clinic as an addition to in-clinic PrEP care pathways and provide useful insights for those developing digital services for other conditions incorporating testing, consultations, and prescribing.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalDigital Health
Volume9
Early online date30 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • HIV
  • digital health
  • qualitative
  • eHealth
  • sexual health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Delivering HIV prevention medication online: findings from a qualitative study exploring the acceptability of an online HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) care pathway among service users and healthcare professionals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this