Pilgrim NA, Evans TM, Czarnogorski M. A Layer Plus Approach to Implementation Research and Collaboration for Long-Acting Injectable Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention.
In 2020, the HIV prevention clinical trials, HPTN (HIV Prevention Trials Network) 083 and 084, reported that long-acting injectable cabotegravir (CAB-LA) for HIV prevention was statistically superior to daily oral tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in cisgender men and transgender women who have sex with men, and cisgender women. However, clinical efficacy does not translate to real-world effectiveness and clinical practice as evidenced by current global use of oral PrEP. There are ~626,000 users of PrEP, which is significantly below the 3 million goal set by UNAIDS for 2020. Implementation will be key to ensuring that CAB-LA reaches those who desire to use it. We describe the Layer Plus Approach for CAB-LA for PrEP dissemination and implementation. The "Layer" is focused on integrating CAB-LA into existing PrEP models of care and understanding the best delivery channels that could be established in existing programs. Important implications of layering include preparing health professionals to provide CAB-LA, improving access for potential users, and addressing existing PrEP structural and facility barriers. "Plus," which accounts for the existing disparities in PrEP access and use, means expanding CAB-LA to reach individuals for whom HIV prevention options have not been accessible or who have lapsed on oral PrEP. Implications for Plus include the development of new structures, systems, policies, and processes. A key aspect to the Approach is building collaborations to aid successful implementation. The Layer Plus Approach is a simple but strategic framework or a tailored approach to guide dissemination research and implementation.