Why Women Discontinue PrEP More Frequently Than Men

Investigators found a couple of different factors for this phenomenon.

Cisgender women who utilize PrEP have a greater propensity to discontinue it than men. As such investigators from Harvard, Fenway Institute, Washington University in St. Louis, OCHIN, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center examined the factors for why women were discontinuing usage.

Based upon their findings, they created a poster, PrEP Discontinuation Among Women in U.S. Community Health Centers, which is being presented at the 2022 Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infection (CROI).

The investigators used electronic health record data from adult cisgender women prescribed PrEP during 2012-2019 in a national network of community health centers (OCHIN). They evaluated the one-year cumulative incidence of discontinuation, which was defined as 60 days without medication based on dates of prescriptions.

According to the investigators, among women who were prescribed PrEP, the cumulative incidence of discontinuation within one year was 78%.

PrEP discontinuation among women was higher in those who were uninsured or lower-income.

“There is a need for responsive implementation strategies to improve access to PrEP for women, particularly those with structural barriers to care,” the investigators wrote. “PrEP implementation for U.S. cisgender women is lagging in policy and practice; interventions are needed to improve not only PrEP uptake but also continuation in this population.”