TÉSTATE PrEP study underway
Doctor informing a potential participant about TÉSTATE PrEP
The TÉSTATE PrEP project has just embarked on a new phase, seeking to involve gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) and transgender women who have been on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment for over a year in its study. TÉSTATE PrEP is a project funded by the Health Research Fund, designed by the Centre for Epidemiological Studies on HIV/AIDS in Catalonia (CEEISCAT) in coordination with the PrEP Service at the Drassanes-Vall d'Hebron Centre for International Health and Infectious Diseases and the Health Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
The aim of the project is to design and implement a pilot online screening intervention for HIV/STIs that offers self-sampling kits to detect HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis in individuals on PrEP over a two-year period. Recruitment is carried out from the PrEP Service at the Drassanes-Vall d'Hebron Centre for International Health, which informs and offers its patients the opportunity to participate in this alternative follow-up modality, provided they meet the selection criteria.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a comprehensive HIV and other STI prevention programme based on the provision of antiretroviral drugs before coming into contact with HIV to prevent its infection. People taking PrEP must undergo quarterly clinical monitoring where they are tested for HIV and other STIs, as well as counselling, health education, and adherence assessment. This clinical trial intends to demonstrate that alternating face-to-face visits with telemedicine consultations has good acceptability from both PrEP users and health professionals, and does not result in a decrease in retention in the PrEP programme.
The initiative could reduce the workload of PrEP services and increase user convenience, as they would only need to travel to the PrEP service every six months, instead of three as per the usual protocol. In online screenings, participants will receive their quarterly medication and a self-sampling kit at home, with detailed instructions on how to obtain the samples. They will send the samples free of charge to the reference laboratories and will be able to view the results through the study's website.
Participant monitoring will start in the summer of 2022 and continue until June 2024, with the research findings anticipated to be presented by the end of that year. This intervention builds upon the foundations of the TÉSTATE study, initiated by CEEISCAT in 2018, which has already distributed 11,000 HIV self-testing kits throughout Spain, as well as kits for detecting viremic infection by the hepatitis C virus, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
All individuals currently undergoing PrEP monitoring at the PrEP Service of the Drassanes-Vall d'Hebron Centre for International Health who are interested in participating can contact the centre directly (https://t.ly/_INA) for guidance and coordination of their participation.