Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is an FDA-approved way of preventing HIV in people who are at high risk. The PrEP provided in the PrEPTECH study is a pill (called Truvada) that is taken orally every day to prevent HIV. Daily PrEP use can lower the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. You can combine additional strategies with PrEP (like use of internal or external condoms) to reduce your risk even further. is a fantastic resource. There you can learn how to know if you should be considering PrEP, how to find a PrEP provider (and a list of providers near you), and how to pay for PrEP if you have no health insurance or limited prescription drug coverage.
Most people on PrEP experience no side effects.
  • Some people – fewer than 1 in 20 – experience stomach discomfort (pain/nausea), headaches, or weight loss. Most people who do experience side effects find they go away on their own after the first few weeks. PrEP is generally considered easy to take.
  • Many people have used Truvada (the PrEP medication used in this study) for years.
  • Possible but very rare long-term side effects include loss of bone mineral density and kidney damage.

We already know that PrEP is an excellent tool for HIV prevention. But many people who would benefit from PrEP aren't getting it. We want to know if an online system providing a way to access PrEP through at-home lab kits, a doctor accessible through a telehealth platform, an online pharmacy, and customizable reminders will make it easier for people to start and stay on PrEP. That's why we are doing this study.
The study is specifically for young (between the ages 15 – 27) gay or bisexual cisgender men (cisgender means not transgender) and transgender women living in California (Los Angeles or the Bay Area) or Southern Florida. To be eligible, you also need access to a computer or a smart phone, and you can't already be taking PrEP regularly.

  1. When you click “Join the Study,” you’ll make a PrEPTECH account, and take a survey that asks about who you are, to help us verify your identity.
  2. If you meet the criteria to join, you will read and digitally sign a form that explains the study, and you’ll take a quick quiz to make sure you consent to participate.
  3. Once you pass the quiz, you’ll be split into one of two groups, purely based on chance.
  4. One group will get access to PrEPTECH. The other won’t.
  5. Everyone in the study will be asked to complete three online surveys, and when it’s time we’ll send a reminder to your preferred method of communication (text message or email).
  6. You’ll take the first survey right away, the second survey after three months, and the third survey after six months.
  7. You will get e-gift cards each time you take a survey, up to $150 total for completing all three surveys!

Each study participant is randomly assigned to one of two groups. When we say “randomly assigned,” we mean that which group a study participant is put into is purely up to chance. One group will get access to PrEPTECH. The other group will receive a list of online resources about PrEP but no direct help getting onto PrEP. We will compare use of PrEP between the two groups to better understand whether PrEPTECH helps people start and continue taking PrEP.

  1. If you’re assigned to the PrEPTECH group, first you’ll order your lab tests through a secure online platform, which helps the study doctor ensure that PrEP will be safe for you. They’ll be sent directly to you!

  2. Once your labs come in, you’ll have an appointment with our study doctor, “Dr K” (Jeffrey Klausner, MD) online or over the phone. He’s a globally recognized HIV expert.

  3. If Dr. K confirms that it’s safe for you to begin PrEP, an online pharmacy we partner with will send you a free supply of PrEP to an address you choose.
    • If you are a transgender woman or you are under 18, you’ll get free PrEP for the entire 6-month study period.
    • If you’re over 18 and a cisgender male, you’ll get a free 30 day supply of PrEP, and our study coordinator will help you figure out how to get more PrEP before your supply runs out, whether or not you have insurance

  4. Our online system keeps you on track so that you have more time to enjoy your HIV-free life. Each step of the way, we’ll send a reminder to your preferred method of communication (text message or email) that you need to log back into PrEPTECH website.

  5. We’re help to help! You can reach out to the PrEPTECH2 study team anytime at [email protected] or (510) 628-6434 – texts and calls are both fine! We’ll get back to you within a couple of days.

You'll get compensated $150 for taking all three online surveys. When it's time to take your next survey, we will send a reminder to your preferred method of communication: text message or email. You get e-gift cards for each one: $40 for the first survey when you start the study, $50 for the second survey after three months, and $60 for the third survey after six months.
After you finish each survey, we will email you an e-gift card. You have a choice about what kind of gift card you want. If you have questions about getting or using your gift card, email [email protected]
The surveys ask a range of questions about your health and behaviors, including your thoughts about and experiences with PrEP. You can skip any question you don't feel comfortable answering.
The study lasts for six months, but you won't actually be using the study website very much. Over the course of those six months, you'll take three surveys: one survey at the beginning of the study, another after three months, and the final one after six months. Each survey takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Nope, this is 100% your choice and you do not need permission from a parent or legal guardian to participate.
If they're eligible, absolutely! Just send them to our study website to see if they qualify.
We take your privacy very seriously. Once you register with PrEPTECH, you'll have access to a password-protected account portal. The information you enter into PrEPTECH will not be shared with anyone outside the study. The data is housed on a secure HIPAA-compliant cloud-based server. For more information, check out our Privacy Policy.
This project is funded by Gilead Sciences, a research-based pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of medicines. They make PrEP products, including Truvada.
PrEPTECH is run by the YTH Initiative of ETR, a non-profit organization committed to improving health outcomes and advancing health equity for youth, families, and communities. At YTH, our mission is to advance the health and wellness of young people through new technology and media. We actually piloted PrEPTECH back in 2017 with 25 young gay and bisexual men in San Francisco, and we've made a whole bunch of improvements based on their experience and feedback. We're also collaborating with Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a globally recognized HIV expert, and a fantastic Community Advisory Board of six young folks in California and Florida who keep us on point. You can learn more about our team here.
Because this study is being run in California, we are required to share the California Experimental Subject's Bill of Rights, which lays out the rights of all participants in our study.

You can also learn more about the study and your rights as a participant in the informed consent document we ask every prospective participant to read.

If you are an adult gay or bisexual man, your informed consent is available here.

If you are age 15 to 17, your informed consent is available here.

And if you are a transwoman, your informed consent document is available here.
We're help to help! You can reach out to the PrEPTECH study team anytime at [email protected] or (510) 628-6434
– texts and calls are both fine! We'll get back to you within a couple of days.