There’s power in OPTIONS: Recent developments from the project that is optimizing HIV prevention technology introduction on schedule

Aubrey Weber, Technical Officer, FHI 360

“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.” - Briana Ferrigno, McCann Health

As part of the 2015-2020 Microbicide Product Introduction Initiative (MPii) agreements, USAID’s HIV and AIDS program and PEPFAR support OPTIONS – one of five interconnected projects working to accelerate and sustain access to antiretroviral-based HIV prevention products, also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Recently, OPTIONS has developed several important and innovative tools to strengthen the enabling environment for PrEP uptake. These products include:

Plan 4 PrEP Toolkit

Plan 4 PrEP is a set of unique tools that support national planning for oral PrEP rollout and scale-up based on OPTIONS’ technical experience. The toolkit includes six steps and corresponding worksheets on situation analysis, project landscape, rollout scenarios, district readiness assessment, facility readiness assessment, and private health sector landscape. Policy makers, technical working groups, implementing partners, or advocates at the national or sub-national level will find tools informed by PrEP rollout experiences in South Africa, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.

HIV Prevention Ambassador Training Package

What is an HIV Prevention Ambassador? This training package and toolkit is geared toward preparing adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) to play a meaningful role in the rollout of oral PrEP in their communities. As an Ambassador, AGYW individuals are equipped and empowered with the information they need to inform their peers about PrEP and answer questions, support friends who are making decisions about HIV prevention, and build community support for PrEP use.

PrEP Communications Accelerator

The PrEP Communications Accelerator is a free digital resource that supports national governments, program implementers, and health practitioners to develop marketing and communications that drive demand for PrEP in sub-Saharan Africa. Through the interactive Communications Fast Tracker, you can build a sample demand creation campaign strategy tailored to the target population you are interested in engaging with PrEP-related materials. Does your program focus on adolescent girls and young women, a specific key population group, or serodiscordant couples? This tool is designed for anyone involved in PrEP roll-out, communication about PrEP, or driving demand for PrEP.

PrEP4Youth video series

Did you know? PrEP offers more than 90 percent protection against HIV when taken correctly. This series of five public service announcement videos encourage PrEP as an acceptable HIV prevention method for AGYW. PrEP is more than just a pill, but also a source of aspiration, empowerment, and independence. The videos feature actresses from MTV Shuga: Down South, who tackle critical questions on many AGYW’s minds regarding testing, combination prevention, side effects, stigma, and adherence.

PrEP-IT – coming soon!

This Excel-based tool supports target setting, capacity assessment and efficiency analyses, tracking the cascade of PrEP delivery, costing, and estimating impact. PrEP-it was developed by OPTIONS, Health Policy Plus (HP+), and the Efficiency and Accountability Technical Assistance to Partners II (EATAP-II) project and will launch via webinar on September 24th. 

To learn more about the five interconnected projects working to accelerate and sustain access to PrEP – CHARISMA, EMOTION, GEMS, OPTIONS, and POWERclick here. For daily project news, don’t forget to follow @optionsmpii on Twitter.