Global WACh

May 19, 2023

Predoctoral researcher Tessa Concepcion receives award to support integration of long-acting PrEP methods into antenatal care in Kenya

Tessa Concepcion, a second-year PhD student in the Global Health Implementation Science Program, recently received a National Institutes of Health grant to fund her predoctoral research with Global WACh at UW and Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in Kenya.

The three-year grant titled, “Planning for delivery of novel PrEP formulations to pregnant and postpartum women in Kenya,” leverages the ongoing mWACh-PrEP randomized trial (MPIs: John Kinuthia, KNH and Jillian Pintye, UW)—a SMS-based support intervention to enhance PrEP adherence during pregnancy through the postpartum period—to identify pregnant and postpartum women’s preferences for novel PrEP agents and identify early process indicators for implementing these options in MCH systems. This proposal was guided by the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation and Sustainment (EPIS) framework to answer questions related to implementation of LA-PrEP for pregnant and postpartum women in Kenya.

This study will be the first evaluation of user-preferences for new PrEP methods among pregnant and postpartum women and the findings will help inform messaging and introduction of novel PrEP agents tailored to this important population. The power of choice when it comes to HIV prevention cannot be understated. This study will help inform integration of long-acting PrEP methods into antenatal care. The ability to choose HIV prevention methods that best suit their needs and change their choice over time may empower pregnant and postpartum women to uptake and persist with PrEP.

This funding opportunity offers Tessa the opportunity to learn and apply exciting quantitative and qualitative methods to understand pregnant and postpartum women’s preferences for long-acting PrEP. In addition, it will offer scientific training in discrete choice experiments, latent class analyses, and qualitative methods for use in implementation science.  Congratulations to Tessa and we look forward to sharing future progress!