YMSM in the US are accessing PrEP and are less likely than older MSM to use it consistently enough to achieve protection from HIV, yet the current choices for real-time monitoring of adherence in both research trials and clinical settings have demonstrated flaws and the evidence-base for PrEP adherence interventions is limited. A central theme in recent large-scale PrEP trials demonstrating lack of efficacy to PrEP due almost exclusively to low drug adherence was the failure of traditional adherence metrics to precisely document drug adherence, identify patterns of adherence behaviors, and facilitate timely intervention when lapses in adherence occurred. Current PrEP detection techniques require specialized laboratory capabilities and cannot determine real-time adherence by confirming ingestion of PrEP. This study directly addresses the need for approaches to rapidly and accurately assess adherence, which also serves as a surrogate marker for PrEP efficacy, by proposing an integrated system that confirms ingestion of oral PrEP, monitors adherence both in real-time and longitudinally, and provides real-time and periodic feedback mechanisms to promote enhanced adherence behaviors. This study will evaluate a generalizable, high-interest PrEP adherence monitoring approach among YMSM to determine feasibility as well as acceptability of strategies that will a) deliver a technology-based monitoring system to promote PrEP adherence among YMSM; b) advise real-time practice decisions to modify adherence behaviors; and c) establish a potential new standard for adherence measurements of existing and new antiretrovirals in clinical trials for treatment and prevention.
One Research Associate/Recruiter (RA) will be hired to support study activities. This RA will be experienced in working with YMSM. Furthermore, the RA will have a thorough understanding of research methods and have strong interpersonal and organizational skills. He/she will have solid track records of successful participant recruitment, screening for eligibility, and administering interviews using ACASI. Most importantly, they must have strong credibility and experience with the target population. The RAs will help carry out the day to day study activities. These activities include recruitment and screening of participants, assisting participants in scheduling and attending study visits, maintaining contact with participants between study visits, entering data into REDCap and other duties directly relevant to the study. The RA will receive intensive training in study protocol and procedures. The investigators and the Project Director will assist the RA as he/she performs his/her duties.
Applicants must possess a Bachelor’s degree; MPH preferred
Applicants must be familiar with the young MSM community; experience in conducting research with YMSM preferred
Good written and verbal communication skills necessary
Ability to work with a young adult population (16-24 yrs)
Experience with behavioral or social science research a plus