RCAP Teams with University of Chicago to Expand Access to PrEP
IU's Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention (RCAP) will team with the University of Chicago, the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, and Walgreens Pharmacies to expand access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in community pharmacy settings in the Chicago, Gary, and Indianapolis areas. The fight against HIV is most effective when people have access to PrEP or the use of antiretroviral medications to combat HIV infection among individuals who are HIV-negative. While PrEP access will help turn the tide of the HIV epidemic in the U.S. and elsewhere, not everyone or every community has equal access. Several social and economic factors also remain barriers to PrEP use, particularly for young black men who have sex with men and transgender women.
The research team will develop programs to expand PrEP awareness and access, especially in communities with high rates of HIV and STD infection, but with low resource and high need. Specifically, the team will develop a community pharmacy-based PrEP educational training program, referral system for pharmacists and providers, and PrEP educational kiosk tailored to the needs of pharmacy patients and the pharmacy staff who serve them. The research team is lead by Dr. Brandon Hill, Executive Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health at the University of Chicago and a recent PhD graduate in gender studies at IUB, who received a two-year $468,741 grant from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Beth Meyerson, Associate Professor of Health Policy & Management and RCAP Co-Director at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, conducted preliminary studies with pharmacies in Indiana and found that pharmacies are an unique and interested setting for expansion for HIV prevention. "RCAP is pleased to be part of this research team," said Dr. William Yarber, Senior Director of RCAP, Kinsey Institute Senior Scientist, Affiliate Member at IU's Department of Gender Studies, and Professor of Applied Health Science at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. "Our intervention development capability, pharmacy research experience, and community research partnerships can potentially advance HIV prevention here and elsewhere." Dr. Yarber, who is a co-investigator for the project, has extensive experience in developing HIV prevention educational programs including, at the federal government's request, the country's school secondary HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum.