Clinic-Integrated Smartphone App (JomPrEP) to Improve Uptake of HIV Testing and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in Malaysia

Background: HIV disproportionately affects men who have sex with men (MSM). In Malaysia, where stigma and discrimination toward MSM are high, including in health care settings, mobile health (mHealth) platforms have the potential to open new frontiers in HIV prevention. Objective: We developed an innovative, clinic-integrated smartphone app called JomPrEP, which provides a virtual platform for Malaysian MSM to engage in HIV prevention services. In collaboration with the local clinics in Malaysia, JomPrEP offers a range of HIV prevention (ie, HIV testing and pre-exposure prophylaxis [PrEP]) and other support services (eg, referral to mental health support) without having to interface face to face with clinicians. This study evaluated the usability and acceptability of JomPrEP to deliver HIV prevention services for MSM in Malaysia. Methods: In total, 50 PrEP-naive MSM without HIV in Greater Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were recruited between March and April 2022. Participants used JomPrEP for a month and completed a postuse survey. The usability of the app and its features were assessed using self-report and objective measures (eg, app analytics, clinic dashboard). Acceptability was evaluated using the System Usability Scale (SUS). Results: The participants’ mean age was 27.9 (SD 5.3) years. Participants used JomPrEP for an average of 8 (SD 5.0) times during 30 days of testing, with each session lasting an average of 28 (SD 38.9) minutes. Of the 50 participants, 42 (84%) ordered an HIV self-testing (HIVST) kit using the app, of whom 18 (42%) ordered an HIVST more than once. Almost all participants (46/50, 92%) initiated PrEP using the app (same-day PrEP initiation: 30/46, 65%); of these, 16/46 (35%) participants chose PrEP e-consultation via the app (vs in-person consultation). Regarding PrEP dispensing, 18/46 (39%) participants chose to receive their PrEP via mail delivery (vs pharmacy pickup). The app was rated as having high acceptability with a mean score of 73.8 (SD 10.1) on the SUS. Conclusions: JomPrEP was found to be a highly feasible and acceptable tool for MSM in Malaysia to access HIV prevention services quickly and conveniently. A broader, randomized controlled trial is warranted to evaluate its efficacy on HIV prevention outcomes among MSM in Malaysia. Trial registration: NCT05052411; International registered report identifier (irrid): RR2-10.2196/43318.

Roman Shrestha1,2, PhD, MPH; Frederick L Altice2, MD; Antoine Khati1, MD; Iskandar Azwa3, MD; Kamal Gautam1,MPH; Sana Gupta1; Patrick Sean Sullivan4, PhD; Zhao Ni5, PhD; Adeeba Kamarulzaman3, MD; PanyaphonPhiphatkunarnon6, MSc; Jeffrey A Wickersham2, PhD
(PDF) Clinic-Integrated Smartphone App (JomPrEP) to Improve Uptake of HIV Testing and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in Malaysia: Mixed Methods Evaluation of Usability and Acceptability. Available from: [accessed Dec 14 2023].