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Background: According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, one in three primary care doctors and nurses have not heard about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). While efforts are underway to train providers and develop policies to increase PrEP access, there is increasing demand by consumers to find PrEP-friendly providers.
Description: PleasePrEPMe.org, a crowd-sourced, location-based, searchable statewide California PrEP Provider Directory, launched November 2015 connecting consumers interested in PrEP to willing providers. The website was developed in collaboration with regional partners in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego. From the homepage, users enter their location by city or zip code. The website scans the up-to-date directory of 200 clinics mapping the nearest within a customizable mile radius. Consumers can find a provider that fits their sexual health needs. For providers, PleasePrEPme.org offers a portal to promote their services. The website also offers resources to empower consumers and providers to better access PrEP.
Lessons learned: We solicited user input using heuristic reviews and surveys throughout the development process to ensure the website''s look, feel and messaging were consumer-oriented. In doing so, we invested significant skill, time and resources for building the searchable database and website design to meet consumer desire for a simple search process and information structured in a user-friendly format. To date, more than 6,500 visitors have visited PleasePrEPMe.org with more than 17,000 page views. We credit much of the website''s success to this consumer-driven approach.
Separately, willingness from providers to join PleasePrEPMe.org depended on PrEP awareness, which varied. Having readily available capacity building assistance tools for providers not aware and/or comfortable prescribing PrEP was helpful. For counties with rural populations, low HIV incidence and/or low HIV prevalence, we found partnering with major influencers, like the State Office of AIDS, along with targeted outreach was key in our recruitment efforts.
Conclusions/Next steps: PleasePrEPMe.org fills the demand of consumers seeking a willing PrEP provider and supports providers to become more PrEP-friendly. It is our intent to expand PleasePrEPMe.org into a multi-state or national effort. As PrEP uptake continues to increase, our lessons learned may be useful to others developing PrEP provider directories.