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August 9, 2018 - ATN 155: Planning 4 Prep Video

Watch this short video about ATN 155: Planning 4 Prep, a study of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis in Title X-funded family planning clinics in the US. The video features Dr. Anandi Sheth and Dr. Jessica Sales, both from Emory University, who are the principal investigators of the study. A transcript is included below the video.




DR. SHETH: My name’s Anandi Sheth, and I am an assistant professor at Emory University in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases.

DR. SALES: I’m Jessica Sales from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

DR. SALES: I am a behavioral scientist and have been focused on working in HIV prevention, focused on adolescent and young adult women for the last 15 years so working on the Planning 4 Prep study was just a natural next step for the work I’ve been doing in HIV prevention.

DR. SHETH: I’m a co-principal investigator with Dr. Jessica Sales for this study. I am an infectious disease physician and Dr. Sales is a developmental psychologist. We’re using our mutual skills set to address this study which is an implementation study of PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) in the southern United States within the family planning context.

DR. SHETH: I became involved in this study through a collaboration with Dr. Sales. She has a long history of experience and expertise working within family planning clinics doing HIV prevention behavioral interventions. My experience is more as an infectious disease provider working in the women’s health context. To focus on PrEP, a biomedical prevention method, we really needed our joint expertise. We were introduced by a mutual colleague and realized that our skill sets were complementary and we both had a passion for working in this area and felt that implementing PrEP within the women’s health context would be a potentially key way to advance PrEP in the region for women.

DR. SALES: This is a study where we have a new HIV prevention tool that comes in the form of a daily pill that individuals can take before exposure to HIV that can prevent them from acquiring HIV. This is a tool that a lot of women don’t know about and that by teaching and incorporating this HIV prevention approach into family planning settings where women go and receive a lot of their sexual health and reproductive health care, we are better able to increase access to this really exciting prevention technology that has been underutilized by women thus far. We are really excited about bringing this user-controlled pill for HIV prevention to women in an area of the country where HIV is still a really significant problem.

DR. SHETH: Women in the southern United States are disproportionately affected by HIV and they also have a particularly low access to HIV prevention services and low utilization. So it’s critical to enhance HIV prevention services and access in the region.

DR. SALES: We have a two phased study and we are in the final home stretch of our phase one project which was focused on doing a large scale survey across 15 southern states to better understand the readiness and capacity of Title X-funded family planning clinics across the southern US for implementing PrEP. We are also doing not only the survey but we are doing key informant interviews with 60 individuals as well as the survey. Planned enrollment was 600 individuals working across Title X clinics across the south. We are in the final months of data collection for our phase one and should be moving to our phase two which was focused on three focal clinics in the Atlanta metro area. As we study them beginning in the stages and beginning implementing PrEP on site in their family planning settings.

DR. SALES: Thus far, we are one of the newer protocols added to the ATN, and so we are just getting to know the larger ATN group and it’s been wonderful to go to a couple of the in-person meetings to learn about the other exciting protocols that are being implemented across the entire ATN network. It’s been fun to just hear about the exciting science focused on improving HIV prevention and treatment for adolescents in the United States. It’s just been a privilege and honor to be part of the group so far.

DR. SALES: Emory has a wonderful set of resources related to supporting individuals who work in HIV. We have a Center for AIDS Research at Emory that has been remarkably supportive of our work, not just for the ATN Planning 4 Prep study but through our careers in HIV work for both Anandi and I and so we’re really fortunate to be in a university that has a Center for AIDS Research or CFAR as we call it that has been so supportive of individuals who work in HIV research.

DR. SHETH: What motivates me to work on Planning 4 Prep is that I’ve been interested in prevention and treatment issues for women, since the early stages of my career. In particular, it was really exciting to find out several years ago that PrEP is an effective prevention strategy for women and allows for a female controlled method, which really hadn’t existed before this.

DR. SALES: A lot of the work that I’ve done up until this point has really been at the intersection of violence and trauma and sexual and reproductive health for women. The availability of PrEP which has been so long awaited for and an option for women that really puts prevention in their own hands by having a user-controlled option, it’s just been really exciting and such a great opportunity that has been so long awaited for, by me and others in the field to really start working and have access to a tool that is really truly female-controlled and thinking about expanding access to that for women who could really benefit from having that ability to control their own prevention option is something that is really motivating and exciting for me.

End of transcript

The Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) research program aims to defeat the rising HIV epidemic among adolescents and young adults in the United States. ATN is led by investigators with innovative thinking and novel approaches to increase awareness of HIV status in youth and, for those diagnosed with HIV, increase access to health care.