Text Messages Successfully Improve HIV Prevention Programs in High Risk Populations


hand holding smart phone

An LA BioMed-supported study shows success in creating a new system for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention, examining the use of personalized text messages to alert subjects to take their HIV preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The study Randomized Controlled Trial of Daily Text Messages to Support Adherence to Preexposure Prophylaxis in Individuals at Risk for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, tested, developed and implemented personal text message systems to promote individual adherence to medical dosing among persons living with HIV.

“Technology can have a transformative effect on our lives and we are pleased to get a better understanding of how it can benefit those living with chronic diseases including HIV,” said Dr. David Meyer, President and CEO of LA BioMed. “We are excited about the overwhelmingly positive results from this study and look forward to seeing the medical community implement the findings and build on the application of automated text messaging for other preventative health initiatives.”

The study, conducted in collaboration with university, non-profit and private institutions, developed and implemented personalized text messaging systems for adherence promotion among persons living with HIV (individualized texting for adherence building; iTAB).

The text message program, iTAB can be tailored to subpopulations, leading to better therapy and dose timing. Between February 2013 and February 2016, 398 men who have sex with men and transgender women received individualized texting for adherence building (iTAB) or standard care (SoC) for 48 weeks. 

Individualized daily texting for adherence could be used to maximize long-term, pre-exposure prophylaxis effectiveness by increasing near-perfect adherence. The role of individualized texting is one that serves a low-burden ancillary tool, likely at low cost. While the translational applications of this model are many, further studies plan to examine the role of changing HIV risk over time on adherence and variable trajectories of adherence, as well as predictors of intervention engagement, including how specific messages may influence PrEP adherence.