STOP AIDS has collaborated on PrEP research, sponsored community events and discussions and participated in policy development.
Introduction and Overview STOP AIDS Project assisted Dr. Albert Liu on an early PrEP research project that was focused on understanding gay and bisexual men’s knowledge and attitudes about PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and PEP. This research has helped inform studies that are currently underway.
STOP AIDS Project has held three community forums about PrEP research. At the first two forums, held in 2009, no studies had been completed that demonstrated whether or not PrEP would work; therefore, these were anticipatory discussions. The third forum, held in August 2010, focused on the Caprisa microbicide trials, which showed a 39% reduction in new HIV infections among women in South Africa who used an experimental microbicide gel.
It was important for us to begin to address the issues surrounding these potential new prevention tools because debates about the policy implications were already well underway. We wanted to ensure that the community's voice was included in those discussions, before these questions got answered by insurance companies and government.
If PrEP proved effective but gay, bi and trans men were not informed about what is was, or its potential impact on their lives, they would miss this important opportunity to inform policy. Key highlights from our forums were written up and mailed to the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control to share ideas and concerns.
- Community Forums In-Depth
- In 2009, we partnered with San Francisco Department of Health (SFDPH) on two forums to share information and discuss the potential implications of a positive research outcome. The first event was held on August 13, 2009 for a group of approximately 25 people. We had presentations from Dr. Moupali Das and Dr. Albert Liu from SFDPH as well as Dr. Rick Loftus.
The second event, held on September 16, 2009, was a community roundtable. We spoke about when it might make sense to use PrEP, for which populations it might prove useful, and some of the potential barriers to using PrEP, if it became available.
In August 2010, we held our third forum to share the Caprisa results, a recently completed study demonstrating the efficacy of one kind of PrEP, known as microbicides, among women in Africa. This study gave hope to many people about the possibilities of PrEP for reducing HIV risk among HIV negative individuals around the world.
The forum was attended by over 70 participants and covered by the Bay Times. Speakers included Dr. Susan Philip, Dr. Grant Colfax, Dr. Albert Liu of SFDPH and Matt Sharp of Project Inform.
Many unknowns remain in PrEP research and implementation. STOP AIDS will continue to support community conversations and participate in policy recommendations whenever possible.
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