The WelTel team is working with the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) to deploy PrEPmate by WelTel at PrEP clinics across the country. Powered by the WelTel platform, PrEPmate is an interactive, two-way short message service (SMS) that supports PrEP patients via weekly personalized messages and reminders to take their meds and attend appointments.
The initiative is backed by research that demonstrates how text-based strategies support preventive health care — a view shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which endorsed PrEPmate as an evidence-based intervention to improve patient adherence, engagement and health outcomes.
“WelTel started in Africa over 15 years ago to support HIV patients in antiretroviral therapy, and we were the first to show how to use texting to improve adherence to treatment programs,” says WelTel CEO Gabby Serafini. “Since then, research has demonstrated PrEPmate’s effectiveness in improving PrEP adherence and retention in care, especially among younger men.”
Public health officials are concerned that while daily PrEP medication is a safe and effective way to prevent HIV infection, those most at risk tend to have challenges adhering to treatment and remaining in care. The work with NASTAD aims to build upon a randomized trial by scientists in Chicago and San Francisco that demonstrated the positive impact of text messaging with PrEPmate on at-risk individuals. See The Epic Study for more.
“Our goal is to help PrEP clinics develop effective strategies for improving adherence by giving PrEP navigators the tools they need to interact and connect with patients on a personal level by text and provide tailored support to those who need it most,” says Serafini.