Last updated on August 2019

The PrEPARE Project: Prevention Empowering and Protecting Young Women in South Africa

Brief description of study

The project seeks to determine whether implementing a multilevel, woman-focused intervention, the Young Women's Health CoOp (YWHC), for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) readiness and uptake is a viable complement to the HIV prevention plan for the Government of South Africa. Specifically, this project aims to: increase uptake of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and readiness and uptake of PrEP among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) aged 16 to 24 who engage in high-risk sexual behaviors; and reduce their barriers to accessing SRH services by addressing and reducing stigma and discrimination (S&D) in clinics.

Detailed Study Description

The researchers propose a cluster randomized trial with a factorial design to evaluate the efficacy of a multi-level intervention that addresses stigma in accessing healthcare, social support, and individual risk behaviors of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in South Africa. The researchers engaged stakeholders from the Department of Health, a Community Collaborative Board (CCB), and a Youth Advisory Board (YAB) to inform the adaptation of the evidence-based empowerment intervention, the Women's Health CoOp (WHC)which addresses gender-based violence (GBV), substance use, and sexual riskto address reproductive health and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake and adherence. Through engagement with stakeholders, the researchers also adapted a stigma and discrimination (S&D) reduction training curriculum for clinic staff.

The project plans to increase uptake of reproductive health services, and PrEP readiness, uptake and adherence among AGYW aged 16 to 24 who engage in high-risk sex. The investigators plan to conduct this through a multilevel HIV prevention strategy that addresses S&D in AGYW accessing healthcare, social support, and individual risk behaviors. This cluster randomized trial with a factorial design will be conducted across 12 clinics in Pretoria. This multilevel strategy will be implemented and evaluated through two levels of randomization.

The aims of this study are (1) To engage stakeholders, the Community Collaborative Board (CCB), and the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) in adapting the Women's Health CoOp (WHC) and stigma and discrimination (S&D) reduction training, in the Pretoria area during a formative stage.

(2) To evaluate the impact of training on S&D among healthcare staff on the use of HIV and reproductive health services by adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and staff attitudes and behaviors toward AGYW at 3-, 6-, and 9-month follow-up.

(3) To test the efficacy of a multilevel strategy that addresses structural (stigma and discrimination), interpersonal (social support), and individual (personal agency, substance use, and gender-based violence (GBV)) factors on PrEP readiness and uptake, and adherence (primary outcomes) and condom use, GBV, substance use, and HIV incidence (secondary) at 3-, 6-, and 9-month follow-up among vulnerable AGYW.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT04048551

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