Evaluation of an HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Referral System: From Sexual Health Center to Federally Qualified Health Center Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Clinic

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AIDS Patient Care and STDs


Innovative delivery strategies are needed to facilitate access to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The objective of this study was to evaluate a navigator-facilitated PrEP referral process from a sexual health center (SHC) to a co-located PrEP clinic as an alternative delivery model. Electronic health record (EHR) data were used to calculate the number of clients seen at the SHC in 2019. Charts were manually reviewed to determine whether a PrEP clinic referral was made and document type of referral method: face-to-face appointment scheduling with the navigator (warm handoff), EHR messaging to navigator to schedule the appointment at a later time (EHR message), or provision of navigator's contact information to the client (card only). In 2019, 2481 unique potentially PrEP-eligible clients were seen at the SHC; 220 (9%) received a PrEP referral. Of referred clients, median age was 30 years (interquartile range, 24-34), 182 (83%) were male, 89 (40%) were non-Hispanic Black, and 24 (11%) were Latinx. In total, 94/220 (43%) referred clients attended an initial PrEP visit with a provider, and the proportion attending by referral method was 81%, 36%, and 27% for warm handoff, EHR message, and card only, respectively (p < 0.0001). Despite co-location of these two clinics, there were significant drop-offs along the PrEP care continuum for this referral system. Warm handoff was the most effective referral method, but further efforts are needed to understand barriers to referral. Implementation of same-day PrEP services at SHCs is one potential solution to engaging additional clients.

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Mary Ann Liebert