PrEP Use Low Among Individuals With Self-Reported HIV Risk Factors

Many respondents reported having a lack of information about the use of PrEP.

The use of PrEP is part of a combined approach for the prevention of HIV in those that are at a high risk for infection and is deemed a critical element of that approach. However, there is a significant lack of data that can be used to inform strategies for PrEP scale-up among transgendered individuals.

Recently, investigators from the Division of Epidemiologic Research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California conducted a study to further understand this area.

Data from the study was presented at the 11th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science.

For the study, the team of investigators conducted an online survey that included 396 participants. The survey was used to estimate the prevalence of self-reported HIV risk factors, knowledge and uptake of PrEP among transgender and gender non-binary adults at a large, integrated health system in the United States.

Among the participants were 164 transmen, 151 transwomen and 81 gender non-binary individuals. The majority were young, white and had some college or higher education.

Findings from the study showed that 60% of the respondents were not in a committed relationship, and 98% of them had a drug benefit through a health plan.

Among the participants who reported behaviors that are associated with HIV risk and/or having had an STI within the previous 6 months, only 8.8% reported using PrEP in that time span and only 6.5% reported taking it at the time the survey was conducted.

Additionally, 74.8% had knowledge of PrEP, 77.5% agreed that PrEP users should use condoms and 39% did not know if PrEP helps to prevent STIs. The most commonly reported barriers to PrEP use was cost, side effects, having to take it every day and not having enough information on its efficacy.

“PrEP use was very low among those with self-reported HIV risk factors,” the authors wrote. “Tailored PrEP education and patient-centered programs targeting barriers to PrEP use among high risk transgender and gender non-binary adults are urgently needed.”