OPTIONS Consortium Launches PrEP Communications Accelerator

“Choose-your-own-adventure” tool takes the guess work out of developing PrEP communications campaigns.

The Optimizing Prevention Technology Introduction on Schedule (OPTIONS) Consortium will launch a new online resource to help anyone create communications campaigns to promote PrEP in countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The PrEP Communications Accelerator aims to fast-track development of strategic communications planning for health professionals by aggregating market research, strategic recommendations and tactical considerations for a range of PrEP-ready settings. The Accelerator will officially launch at the Insight to Impact demand creation AIDS 2018 pre-conference on July 21, 2018 and made accessible at PrEPWatch.org.

The PrEP Communications Accelerator focuses on priority audiences in sub-Saharan Africa, including adolescent girls and young women, men who have sex with men, female sex workers, serodiscordant couples, people who inject drugs, and the general population. A key feature of the resource is a digital “choose-your-own adventure” selector tool where users may select a target audience and geographic setting to receive a downloadable aggregate of high-risk population data and evidence-based tips and strategies for engaging each group—for both interpersonal and mass media communications.

“By equipping healthcare practitioners, researchers, NGOs, health ministries and other stakeholders with valuable strategic information, the Accelerator fast-tracks planning and insight to save time and resources. The resource is both highly in-depth and applicable to anyone launching a PrEP program or communication effort,” said Kristine Torjesen, OPTIONS project director, FHI 360.

The resource also provides a demand creation primer for health professionals creating campaigns to promote PrEP, detailing principles and approaches for market research, strategy development, communications planning, and monitoring and evaluation.

“The PrEP Communications Accelerator provides a great set of tools to help public health professionals develop programs to create demand for this essential new HIV prevention option. The expertise and insights that drive the Accelerator will help get new PrEP programs up and running faster to deliver impact,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director, AVAC.

Following its launch, the Accelerator will also incorporate case studies, planning tools, and examples of PrEP communications throughout the world. Development of the Accelerator was led by OPTIONS partner McCann Global Health, in partnership with FHI 360, AVAC, Wits RHI and LVCT Health.

“We know that life-changing HIV prevention solutions are available, but it’s critical to think strategically about how an innovation like PrEP is meaningful to our priority users. By understanding who our user is, what is important to them, and how PrEP can be positioned as useful and beneficial, we can help create an enabling environment for PrEP uptake,” said Briana Ferrigno, president of McCann Global Health.

Learn more about the PrEP Communications Accelerator at the Insight to Impact AIDS 2018 pre-conference booth, or visit www.prepwatch.org/accelerator.

The Optimizing Prevention Technology Introduction on Schedule (OPTIONS) Consortium is an international, multidisciplinary partnership, that applies systems thinking to expedite market introduction of new HIV prevention options. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), OPTIONS works to accelerate and sustain access to antiretroviral-based HIV prevention products (collectively referred to as PrEP). Follow OPTIONS on Twitter @optionsmpii.