PrEP Talk: Enabling Mental Health Professionals to Lead in Prevention | Recording


The Northwest MHTTC is excited to collaborate with the Mountain West AIDS Education & Training Center Program (AETC) on this webinar series related to sexual health. 

The prevalence of HIV among people who have serious mental illnesses is four times as high as that of the general population. Factors that contribute to increased HIV risk include:

  • psychiatric symptoms (e.g., disorganized thoughts and behaviors, delusions and poor executive functioning);
  • higher rates of co-occurring substance use and other HIV risk behaviors;
  • increased risk of social vulnerabilities, including poverty and housing instability;
  • structural barriers (such as stigma and discrimination) to accessing medical care and prevention services in traditional medical settings.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) refers to medications for HIV-negative people to prevent them from getting HIV-infected. Current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend informing all sexually active adults and adolescents about PrEP, but in a large 2020 survey of outpatient mental health care programs, only 33% of programs offered HIV testing and only 20% prescribed PrEP.

Behavioral health treatment settings offer opportunities for identifying the need for PrEP and linking clients to services. Our third session will provide information about the effectiveness of PrEP for reducing risk of acquiring HIV and describe criteria for eligibility and best practices for initiating and monitoring persons receiving PrEP prescriptions.

Learning Objectives:

  • Provide an overview of PrEP
  • Review PrEP efficacy and effectiveness
  • Assess PrEP side effects, risks, HIV-1 drug resistance, and other concerns

Part 3 of the Sexual Health Series (click to view all sessions in this series).


Lydia Chwastiak, MD, MPH

Lydia Chwastiak

Dr. Chwastiak is a psychiatrist, internist and health services researcher who is a Professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.  Over the past 22 years, her research has focused on improving care and outcomes for people with complex needs in low resource settings, such as low-barrier primary care clinics and community mental health centers in the US, and primary and secondary medical settings in India and Nepal. Dr. Chwastiak is co-directs the UW Behavioral Research in HIV (BIRCH) Center, an NIMH-funded AIDS Research Center, and is the PI and co-director of the Northwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (NW MHTTC).

Joanne D. Stekler, MD, MPH

Dr. Stekler began her career working to expand routine HIV antibody testing and access to pooled HIV nucleic acid amplification testing to diagnose acute HIV infection. She has led several studies investigating novel methods to diagnose acute and early HIV infection; comparisons of point-of-care HIV tests; and home, self-testing for HIV infection. Her current work is evaluating the feasibility of implementing point-of-care nucleic acid tests for HIV diagnosis and treatment monitoring in community and clinical sites in Seattle.

Her other interests include HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and use of technology for HIV prevention. Dr. Stekler started the first community-based PrEP clinic in Seattle in 2013 and the first telePrEP clinic in 2015. Through collaborations with the Washington State Department of Health and Mountain West AIDS Education and Training Center, she has been working to expand access to PrEP to reduce healthcare disparities among populations disproportionately impacted by HIV.

Terms of use and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) disclosure statement

June 19, 2024
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