Nick Newton: a PrEPTECH interview

PrEPTECH is an online study for a fast, convenient pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake program tailored to the needs of young men who have sex with men (YSMS) of color interested in preventing HIV by using PrEP.

Back in 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration approved daily oral tenofovir and emtricitabine as pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection in high-risk individuals, offering a unique opportunity to curb the rising incidence of HIV infection in high-risk groups, particularly among YMSM.

Working closely with this community, YTH co-designed the PrEPTECH online web program to support the uptake and adherence of PrEP, while allowing users to bypass many of the current barriers related to stigma, discrimination, and access.

Nick Newton, one of the current interns here at YTH, shared with us about the study, his experiences within the community, and what to do if someone is hesitant to start PrEP.

Why should we care about PrEP?
We live in a time and place where a daily pill can prevent your chances of getting HIV by over 90 percent–that’s really impressive to me. Life is already filled with a millions to worry about–especially for someone like me who’s getting used to a big city–so it’s great that I no longer have to constantly worry about my HIV status. I now have more time to stress out about other things, like work or school or getting a parking ticket in SF.

Who should use PrEP?
When it comes to PrEP, I recognize that there’s a lot of focus on gay men, but I think that anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting HIV should think about taking PrEP. HIV doesn’t discriminate based on sex or gender, and no one is immune to it.

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If someone is scared about starting a PrEP regimen, what would you tell them?

Trying something new can be scary–I totally get that. But don’t let fear stop you from doing something that can help you out in the long run. Also, realize that there’s a community of people out there that can and want to help you. However, it is up to you to take the initiative.

How did you get started in this type of work?

As a young gay man living in San Francisco and getting a master’s degree in sexuality studies, I already knew a thing or two about PrEP. But when I saw the opportunity to join YTH and make a difference in my own community, I knew this position was going to be the perfect fit for me.

Anything else we should know?

You should know two things. First, PrEP is only effective if you take it every day, so online programs like PrEPTECH are great because they help you stay on track. No more running out the door and asking yourself, “Did I take my PrEP today?” Second, PrEP only prevents HIV and should not be seen as a substitute for condoms.

Thanks Nick! We’re glad to have you on board. For more information about the PrEPTECH program or research study, please contact [email protected].



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