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What We Do: TechStep is a study within the University of North Carolina and Emory Center for Innovative Technology (iTech) of the Adolescent Trials Network. Drs. Cathy Reback and Keith Hovarth are the Protocol Co-Chairs.


TechStep is a three-arm, technology-based, randomized controlled trial (RCT), with a stepped care approach, among high-risk trans feminine, trans masculine, and gender non-conforming youth, ages 15-24), for reducing sexual risk behaviors (e.g., condomless anal intercourse, engagement in sex work, sex while feeling the effects of alcohol or drugs) and increasing PrEP uptake.


Participants (N=250) will be randomized into one of three conditions for a 9-month intervention period. The three conditions are: Condition 1 is a low intensity basic information on HIV/STIs, trans health, and community referrals (n=83); Condition 2 is a text messaging intervention (n=83); Condition 3 is a WebApp intervention (n=83). Escalation (if indicated) from Condition 2 or 3 to e-coaching plus the origianlly-assigned intervention (i.e., e-coaching + text or e-coaching + WebApp) will occur at month 3. Assessments will occur at 3-month intervals for 12 months. Primary outcomes include sexual risk reduction and PrEP uptake. Biological outcomes include HIV testing, STIs, and urine analysis for current drug use at each time point. 


Enrollment: Begins in 2019 at five participating sites:

Boston:           Fenway Health Institute

Houston:         Baylor College of Medicine

Los Angeles:   Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA)

New York:      Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST) 

Philadelphia    Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)