Preventing HIV with telehealth
Using telehealth proactively can help prevent the spread of HIV, protecting your patients and your community.
PrEP and PEP
PrEP is a medication for people who are HIV-negative and at high risk for exposure through sexual contact or injection drug use. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing an infection.
PEP refers to the use of antiretroviral drugs for people who are HIV-negative after a single high-risk exposure to stop a potential infection. PEP must be started as soon as possible to be effective – always within 72 hours of a possible exposure – and continued for 4 weeks.
Did you know?
PrEP is also available in an injectable format. Patients receive two initiation injections administered one month apart, and then every two months thereafter.
Integrating TelePrEP into your practice
Making PrEP and PEP delivery part of your telehealth practice (also known as TelePrEP) can be beneficial for both you and your patients.
Several core activities of PrEP/PEP delivery, such as assessing risk for HIV, counseling about the risks and benefits of the medication, and evaluating adherence can be completed through telemedicine.
Plus, TelePrEP may increase PrEP and PEP access for people who live far from clinics or otherwise face transportation or schedule challenges. TelePrEP may also help overcome confidentiality concerns or stigma that prevent some people from seeking PrEP care in person.
TelePrEP in action
Many common practices in telehealth can be useful in implementing a TelePrEP program.
Connecting patients with medication
The CDC’s PrEP Locator is a directory of private and public practice PrEP providers in the United States. Users can filter results by location and insurance status. This tool was made with open-source software, which means you can take the code that builds the directory and place it directly on your website.
Remote patient monitoring
There are several PrEP monitoring smartphone apps that provide reminders to patients and ask for confirmation that doses are taken consistently. Encourage your patients to download one of these apps once they begin their PrEP regimen.