PrEP uptake has rapidly increased in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Yet delivery of oral PrEP remains a challenge as health systems in many countries are already heavily constrained.
In many places, as PrEP is rolled out, healthcare providers often screen clients’ risk behaviors and use specific criteria to determine who would likely benefit from or be a good candidate for PrEP.
However, emerging evidence indicates that this delivery approach may be flawed—reinforcing barriers and stigma and even screening out people who need or could benefit from PrEP.
In Zambia, the Population Council developed and successfully field tested a chatbot—a computer-simulated conversation consisting of informational texts and questions—with cisgender women. The chatbot allowed individuals to self-assess their HIV vulnerability and learn about PrEP while waiting for their consultations with a healthcare provider. Chatbot users reported learning new HIV information, such as PrEP, and they subsequently discussed content with the provider that they learned from the digital chat.
Building on work in Zambia, this project adapts and pilot-tests the chatbot among cisgender women and transgender men in Lagos, Nigeria. In Nigeria, HIV prevalence is high; however, PrEP uptake is low. The goal is to assess the feasibility and acceptability of an innovative chatbot intervention in clinic waiting areas to prime cisgender women and transgender men to consider HIV prevention and initiate conversations with providers about PrEP.