Dr Rupa Patel, Director of the PrEP Program at the WUSTL ID Clinic, has been named the HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) Clinical Services Advisor to JHPIEGO, a non-profit organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, for the BRIDGE to SCALE grant awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
BRIDGE to SCALE is one of the largest PrEP implementation grants awarded by the foundation outside of prior PrEP clinical trials and demonstration projects. The goal of the grant is to demonstrate scale up of PrEP services in a low-resource setting. The 4-year grant has an anticipated PrEP user target of 20,000 people and PrEP awareness target of 50,000 people in Kenya among 3 key populations 1) men who have sex with men (MSM) (estimated HIV prevalence 18%), 2) female sex workers (estimated HIV prevalence 30%), and 3) adolescent girls and young women 15 – 24 years (estimated HIV prevalence > 7%).
Dr. Rupa’s technical role will include creating clinic protocols, provider training, devising adherence and program evaluation metrics along the PrEP care cascade, and assisting in demand generation programs geared towards MSM using social applications.
JHPIEGO has been recognized for achievements in scaling up voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services, in partnership with local governments, for HIV prevention in 12 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. VMMC reduces female-to-male HIV transmission by 70%. They performed a total of 2 million VMMC, one million in the last 2 years, which represents 15% of the World Health Organization-estimated 11.7 million VMMCs performed worldwide since 2008. Mathematical modeling estimates that JHPIEGO potentially averted 50,000 new HIV infections through 2025.