SCOPE: Study Trip from Apoyo Positivo (Spain) to PrEPster (UK)

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A few months ago, I went to Berlin for the ​SCOPE project​ Workshop on inclusive community practices ​for HIV prevention ​organised by the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG). I was a speaker ​on increasing chemsex users’ access and awareness to the HIV combination prevention package. ​During the ​SCOPE ​workshop, ​I got the chance to formally meet ​Will ​Nutland ​from ​PrEPster​ ​in person, where he began talking about a potential collaboration on a web project PrEPster he was starting in London.​


For the last four years, I have been working in a community centre by Apoyo Positivo in Torremolinos​, Spain​. My work focus​es​ on sexual health and HIV treatment and prevention working with key groups in the city​. ​At Apoyo Positivo, I am the person in charge of the PrEP program, and I also manage about 70% of people who access PrEP in Malaga. So, I wanted to see how PrEPster works, how they get clients, get people to know about PrEP, how they share information, and how they approach different communities.


I used to live in London a few years ago and I know that PrEPster is doing a great job there in the sexual health field. So, ​thanks to the SCOPE study trip call, an opportunity came up to visit PrEPster to​ see first-hand how they work and start collaborating with the Web project.


​​​Before arriving in London, ​I had an online meeting with Will and his colleague Marc ​Thompson ​to plan my visit. With the help of​ EATG staff​ Nadiia, Adama and the excellent Sarah, we got everything ready for the trip.​​​


On my first visit day, I visited the PrEPster headquarters. A great coworking space, full of good energy and ready to receive me with open arms. Will’s dog was in the office, a gorgeous greyhound he takes with him on workdays. That was too lovely.


Will, Marc and I had a meeting over a cup of tea. They talked to me about ​The Love Tank​ and PrEPster history. How they started with the Love Tank Project and the projects they are currently working on.


Later that day, I got to spend more time with Will, Marc, Phil, and Asad. One by one they talked to me about the different projects they have been working on. I was amazed by the projects, workshops, and community events they are doing. Especially with the black queer community.


They have developed web and physical paper material with very illustrative and clear information about PrEP and some exciting projects:


  • ​​Ask me about PrEP project​​:​ people​ were trained on ​​informing about ​PrEP and how to communicate this information. The goal of this project was to have the trainees relay​​​ ​information about PrEP to at least 20 different members of their communities and they followed up on the impact of the communications.


  • ​​​POPUP project​: (international Network of people using PrEP), a global network to collaborate and share knowledge, strategies, resources, and research about PrEP, including many countries from different parts of the world. ​


  • ​​​The requisite project​​:​ a national project that targets the specific needs of queer men of colour affected by HIV and poor sexual health. This project aims to address those needs through education, outreach, mobilisers, and high-quality community-accessible resources.​


  • ​​​PrEPverts campaign​ puts sex in the center of sexual health in a very original and beautiful way​. They did display posters from the campaign at big events such as the Glastonbury festival and UK Black Pride​.​​ Where they also worked to promote and make the monkeypox vaccine accessible to key populations with site vaccination points​.​​

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On the second and last day of my visit, Will and I met in a queer library for our meeting. I ended up with a few new books to fit in my already too-packed suitcase where I also needed to fit some nice​​ PrEPster campaign t-shirts and tote bags that Will gave me the day before.


The last meeting was about the web project I will be collaborating on with them from Spain. We had a nice conversation about my experience as a migrant queer person moving to London and what information would have been of help back them, which is the project’s central idea. We did some brainstorming, raised some bullet points, and shared great ideas to help frame the project and give it form. The upcoming web project focuses on migrant people, especially LGBTQ migrant people who are planning to move to different cities, to go on holidays or stay for some time. The idea is to provide information on how to access STIs checking and sexual health, where they can do these checks and how can they get PrEP, or how can they get access to HIV treatment, where they can find resources for the LGBTQ community and migrant population.


​​Afterwards, we met with Asad, who does community outreach work for PrEPster/The Love Tank. ​In the afternoon I shadowed him doing testing in one of the biggest saunas in London: Sweatbox. There I got to see how they do HIV testing and how they encourage guys to get tested​ for other STIs​ in that context.

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Some key learnings from the visit are:


  1. If you​ provide HIV prevention services and​ want to reach ​specific ​communities, you need to look for them, not just wait for them to come to you because they may not even know that you exist or what you can offer them.
  2. If you want to know what ​communities​ need, ask them and they will tell you exactly what they need.
  3. If you want to work for ​communities​, work with them, and ​​count on them. The message will be more effective if it comes from someone with a similar background and with whom you can identify.


​​The study trip was a great opportunity to meet some amazing people who taught me a ​​different perspective on the work they do in HIV prevention. ​​​The experience inspired me to start a new project in my city to promote PrEP and It helped to start building the web project that will help a lot of people around the world.


I am very thankful to EATG for giving me this opportunity​ through the SCOPE project​ and to the PrEPster guys for sharing their experiences with me and for treating me so well.


I used to live in London a few years ago and I know that PrEPster is doing a great job there in the sexual health field. So, ​thanks to the SCOPE study trip call, an opportunity came up to visit PrEPster to​ see first-hand how they work and start collaborating with the Web project.

Juan Francisco Cabrera Solano

Sexual Health Advisor, EATG member


EATG’s SCOPE project aims to strengthen the skills and knowledge of community health workers, advocates and researchers in the field of HIV combination prevention. It focuses on communities that are inadequately served by policies and programmes.


About the study trips


The SCOPE project provided two individual study trips for community health workers and advocates involved in HIV combination prevention service delivery in the WHO European region to carry out individual site visits to local community-based/led organisations.

Study trips provided the opportunity for community health workers and advocates in the area of HIV prevention to:

  • Learn from peers about innovative, inclusive, and integrated HIV prevention services that can be adapted to their local setting
  • Establish and/or strengthen partnerships with a host organisation(s).


The SCOPE project has been developed by the EATG and was made possible through a grant from ViiV Healthcare Europe Ltd. 


by Juan Francisco Cabrera Solano

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