Digitizing HIV Prevention and Treatment

Digitizing HIV Prevention and Treatment

Interventions are needed to efficiently reach people who may be at high risk for HIV but may not often encounter healthcare settings. This is especially true for India, where one of the world’s largest HIV epidemics is occurring, especially among sexual-minority men.

The National Institute of Mental Health has awarded Viraj Patel, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues a five-year, $2.8 million grant to test a behavioral intervention model intended to engage people at high risk for HIV, motivate them to get tested for the infection, provide access to free testing, and link them to organizations offering prevention (PrEP medications) or treatment. The model will use mobile phone apps and social networking platforms. The platforms offer virtual peer support, educational outreach, digital coupons for free HIV testing at private labs, self-testing, or through a LGBTQ+ community organization. This proposal addresses many of the goals of the NIH’s Office of AIDS Research, UNAIDS, and India’s National AIDS Control Organization.

Dr. Patel is assistant professor of medicine at Einstein and an attending physician at Montefiore in the Division of General Internal Medicine. His colleagues on the grant are Julia Arnsten, M.D., M.P.H., and Ryung Kim, Ph.D., both at Einstein. (1R01MH119001).

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