The Centers for Disease Control classifies Keep It Up! as a best evidence intervention for HIV risk reduction

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Zaina Awad
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zaina.awad@northwestern.edu

CHICAGO — Keep It Up! 2.0, a novel online HIV prevention program developed by Northwestern’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, has been designated by the HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Synthesis (PRS) project at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as showing the best evidence of efficacy. Keep It Up! Is the first online HIV prevention program developed for gay and bisexual men to be included in the CDC’s Compendium, a resource to guide HIV prevention planners and healthcare providers in identifying best practices and the most appropriate interventions for their communities.

In a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Keep It Up! was shown to reduce sexually transmitted infections in gay and bisexual young men by 40 percent, and is the first online program proven to reduce sexually transmitted infections. The majority of participants in the study were racial and ethnic minorities, and there was no evidence of differences in intervention effects or engagement between black, latino, and non-latino white participants. Keep It Up! was designed for young gay and bisexual men (ages 18-29), the risk group with the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses in the U.S.

In 2018, the program received an $8.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to scale up nationally and in real-world settings. “We have effective HIV prevention and treatment approaches and now our greatest challenge is how to get them to the people who need them,” said Dr. Brian Mustanski, senior Keep It Up! investigator and director of ISGMH. “Implementation research can help guide our way forward.”

In its next phase, Keep It Up! 3.0, will be made available to community-based organizations, such as local health centers and clinics, in 22 counties across the US. It will also be delivered directly to young gay and bisexual men in another 22 counties by ISGMH staff based in Chicago. Following implementation, Keep It Up!’s investigative team will evaluate the public heath impact on cost saving per infection prevented and document strategies that are most effective for implementing the program.

Complete information about the PRS efficacy review process, methods, and criteria as well as the Compendium of Evidence-Based Interventions and Best Practices for HIV Prevention can be found on the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/dhap/prb/prs/index.html.

To see content from the Keep It up! 2.0 version of the program, visit here. You can also sign up to get updates about the project, including the call for applications to implement the program at local organizations.

The Keep It Up! award is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Office Of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD).