Abrams JA, Odlum M, Tillett E, Haley D, Justman J, Hodder S, Vo L, O'Leary A, Frew PM; HIV Prevention Trials Network 064 (HTPN) Study Team. Strategies for increasing impact, engagement, and accessibility in HIV prevention programs: suggestions from women in urban high HIV burden counties in the Eastern United States (HPTN 064). BMC Public Health. 2020, 20: 1340. PMC7469400
Background: Merely having the tools to end HIV is insufficient. Effectively ending the epidemic necessitates addressing barriers that impede engagement in biomedical and behavioral prevention and wide scale implementation and utilization of existing interventions. This qualitative study identifies suggestions for increasing access to, engagement in, and impact of HIV prevention among women living in cities in high HIV burden counties in the eastern US. Methods: Data analyzed for the current study were collected via a qualitative sub-study within the HIV Prevention Trials Network Study 064 (HPTN 064), a multisite observational cohort study designed to estimate HIV incidence among women residing in communities with elevated HIV prevalence who also reported personal or partner characteristics associated with increased risk of HIV acquisition. Focus group and interview participants in the qualitative sub-study (N = 288) were from four cities in the eastern US. Results: Thematic analyses revealed four themes describing women's most frequently stated ideas for improving prevention efforts: 1) Promote Multilevel Empowerment, 2) Create Engaging Program Content, 3) Build "Market Demand", and 4) Ensure Accessibility. We conducted additional analyses to identify contradictory patterns in the data, which revealed an additional three themes: 1) Address Structural Risk Factors, 2) Increase Engagement via Pleasure Promotion, 3) Expand Awareness of and Access to Prevention Resources. Conclusions: Findings may be useful for enhancing women's engagement in and uptake of behavioral and biomedical HIV prevention resources, improving policy, and addressing multilevel risk factors.