Stanford Children’s Health has launched a new programme to offer accessible and comprehensive HIV-prevention services across the state of California, US.

The new Stanford Medicine Virtual Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Program for Adolescents and Young Adults provides services, including PrEP for adolescents and young adults 25 years and younger.

Youth enrolled in the Stanford Medicine Virtual PrEP Program, in partnership with Stanford Children’s Health, are connected with a pediatric and adolescent care provider with the help of a secure telehealth system.

Virtual PrEP Program founder and medical director Geoff Hart-Cooper said: “Our mission is to improve access to quality PrEP care for adolescents and young adults.

“Our team of dedicated PrEP Navigators are specifically trained to provide an accepting, inclusive, and confidential environment to meet the needs of these patients and start individuals on treatment as soon as possible.”

Through the programme, care provided will be carried out remotely using a patient’s mobile device or computer. Patients will be mailed an at-home testing kit following a virtual intake visit.

Anyone in California regardless of whether they are an existing Stanford patient can get access to the programme.

Hart-Cooper further added: “The remote nature of the Virtual PrEP Program eliminates the need for patients to travel to a care facility, making ongoing care convenient and efficient, which is especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The Virtual PrEP Program also offers provider-training webinars to educate pediatricians throughout California about prescribing and monitoring PrEP.

Virtual PrEP Program associate medical director Carrie Chan said: “Our virtual care model can improve access to PrEP among racial and ethnic minorities, as well as provide specialised youth support, which is more critical than ever as we face the economic insecurities and health outcomes that are disproportionately affecting these groups during the Covid-19 pandemic.”