Background: This study examined the use of HIV postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) among sexually assaulted adolescent females.
Methods: We analyzed data from the HIV PEP Project, an implementation and evaluation of a program of universal offering of PEP to sexual assault victims of all ages. Baseline and follow-up data were collected prospectively from consecutive clients seen at 18 hospital-based sexual assault treatment centers in Ontario, Canada from September 2003 to January 2005. Among 386 at-risk female adolescents, we examined the provision and uptake of and adherence to PEP, and factors related to antiretroviral acceptance and completion.
Results: Most adolescents were single (94.5%), living with family (68.0%), and attending school (67.4%). Slightly over two-fifths (42.7%) accepted and one-third (33.6%) completed the 28-day course of PEP. Factors associated with PEP acceptance were health care provider encouragement, being a student, and being moderately-to-highly anxious. PEP completion was associated with being white and an assailant known less than 24 hours.
Conclusions: Our findings highlight the importance of the health care provider's role in counseling sexually assaulted female adolescents about HIV PEP use. The results also suggest that at-risk adolescents not enrolled in school and those from culturally diverse backgrounds may require additional supports.