This study has been designed to determine how patients use “PEP-In-Pocket” (“PIP”), in which medications for post-exposure prophylaxis are provided in a clinic setting in anticipation of future sexual exposures. PEP is typically accessed at the time of need through emergency departments. While many emergency departments (ED) have protocols in place for managing PEP patients, there are also disadvantages to this approach. For instance, PEP should be started as soon as possible after exposure to maximize efficacy, and ED wait times may introduce undesirable delays, including delays for patients to have prescriptions filled at a pharmacy. There may be a greater chance for variability in clinical practice when PEP is started by emergency personnel, as opposed to by specialist physicians
This is a feasibility study of the PIP strategy for HIV prevention. The study design will primarily be observational, evaluating a cohort of patients who are already being initiated on PEP using the PIP approach. The study is designed to determine specifically whether they decide to use PIP or not use it appropriately after a given sexual activity. Other research questions include whether patients’ sexual activities and attitudes toward HIV change as a result of using PIP.
The study involves a questionnaire, reminder calls, and review of participants’ clinic charts by study staff. This project will help us to gain a better understanding of the ways in which patients use PIP and will help to determine whether this is a strategy for HIV prevention which should be compared to other strategies (like PrEP) in a larger study.