The Impact of a Mobile Gaming Intervention to Increase Adherence to Pre-exposure Prophylaxis


Pre-exposure prophylaxis is effective in preventing HIV, but data show that its effectiveness is compromised by suboptimal adherence. This randomized controlled trial (n = 69) tested the impact of an iPhone game, Viral Combat, on PrEP adherence over 24 weeks. Tenofovir-diphosphate in red blood cells was collected as a biological outcome of adherence. At 24-weeks, intervention participants were 3.75 (95% CI: 1.20–11.77; p = 0.02) times as likely to engage in optimal PrEP dosing compared to controls. Viral Combat showed preliminary efficacy in improving PrEP adherence for diverse young men who have sex with men.

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This publication was made possible with help from the Providence-Boston Center for AIDS Research (P30 AI 042853) and support from grant number R34MH104068 (MPI: LW, LKB) from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

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Correspondence to Laura Whiteley.

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Conflict of interest

LM has received honoraria for advisory boards and speaker bureau participation from Gilead Sciences, ViiV Healthcare, and Merck, and his institution has received grants from these companies.

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Procedures were in accordance with ethical standards for human subjects research. All participants provided informed, written consent.

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Whiteley, L., Craker, L., Haubrick, K.K. et al. The Impact of a Mobile Gaming Intervention to Increase Adherence to Pre-exposure Prophylaxis. AIDS Behav (2021).

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  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • Adherence
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Mobile technology intervention