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Do Certain Groups Struggle With PrEP Adherence?


Segment Description: Ian Frank, MD, professor of medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, discusses how younger individuals who do not take regular medication may struggle to adhere to the daily routine.

Interview transcript: (modified slightly for readability):

Contagion®: What are some populations in particular that struggle with PrEP adherence?

Frank: I think the people that are most likely to struggle with adherence are young individuals who are not taking any other medication; people who aren't on medication are not in a pill-taking habit. Adolescents, in particular, may not think that they are at risk, and so they may not be as likely to take PrEP on a regular basis.

The studies show that individuals who are engaging in higher-risk behavior – having more frequent sex – are more likely to adhere to the regimens. So, there's an issue with self-perception of risk. Individuals who may not feel what they're doing is risky, may be a little bit less likely to take PrEP.

My advice for individuals who are not adhering, perhaps for that reason, is just to remember that even an individual who has told you that they don't have HIV infection may make that claim on the basis of an HIV test that was done some time ago. And if individuals have had sex after their last HIV test, they could have gotten HIV infected and not know it. So, it's not that they're lying, it's just that they're not aware.
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