Neon Lights

A major goal in the fight against the HIV epidemic is increasing Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) adherence among gay and bisexual men (GBM), a population who makes up the majority of new HIV infections. When taken as recommended, PrEP is a highly effective once-daily pill that significantly reduces the chance of contracting HIV. GBM have a higher prevalence of alcohol use than in the overall population, however the impact of alcohol use and misuse on PrEP adherence is less established.

The Neon Lights study will therefore explore the effect alcohol use has on PrEP adherence among GBM. Over approximately 3 months, 100 participants will complete quantitative surveys, ecological momentary assessments (e.g. daily diaries), qualitative interviews, and dried blood spot tests for prep adherence and alcohol use. The findings from this study will be used to identify factors related to alcohol use that can used in interventions to increase PrEP adherence.

This study is funded by a K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award granted to Dr. Westmoreland. The mentorship team she has assembled for this project includes Christian Grov (CUNY SPH), Honoria Guarino (CUNY SPH), H. Jonathon Rendina (Whitman-Walker & GWSPH),  and Deborah Hasin (Columbia CUIMC), as well as a scientific advisory board which includes Denis Nash (CUNY SPH), Morgan Philbin (Columbia MSPH), David Pantalone (UMass Boston), and Tyler Wray (Brown SPH).

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