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Anandi Sheth, MD, MSc: HIV Prevention in Women


Segment Description: Anandi Sheth, MD, MSc, associate professor in the Department of Medicine/Infectious Diseases, Emory University, summarizes her presentation on HIV prevention in women and discusses the need for more women in pre-exposure prophylaxis research.

Interview transcript: (modified slightly for readability)

Contagion®: Can you summarize your presentation on HIV prevention in women?

Sheth: I covered a couple of main areas on the topic of HIV prevention in women. First, I reviewed the data for PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis] advocacy in women coming from mostly international studies, as well as some more recent data from real-world – our demonstration projects and international settings, highlighting that PrEP has been shown to be safe effective in women.

Contagion®: What are some challenges that are unique to women?

Sheth: So one major challenge is that women are not aware of PrEP, and don't always feel that PrEP is advertised towards them. A second one is that a lot of health care settings that women go to like women's health clinics have not been implementing PrEP and haven't been prioritized for PrEP implementation. And one of the third challenges is that identification of women who are good PrEP candidates is challenging given the relatively low population incidence for HIV in women in the US. The current CDC [US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines are helpful to identify women who are at risk for HIV and may benefit from PrEP, but also may miss many women who are living in high HIV burden areas and may be at risk and may benefit from PrEP.

Contagion®: Why is it important to include women in PrEP research?

Sheth: The inclusion of women in PrEP studies is critical. We've seen from previous data that there are small, but important differences, in how PrEP works in women that warrant further evaluation in studies that are purposely including women. This is highlighted by the recent approval of TAF/FTC, and. Again, it demonstrates that women must be included and considered in research early and study designs have to consider women at the get-go.
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