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Adherence to HIV postexposure prophylaxis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Ford, Nathana; Irvine, Cadia; Shubber, Zarab; Baggaley, Rachela; Beanland, Rachela; Vitoria, Marcoa; Doherty, Mega; Mills, Edward J.c; Calmy, Alexandrad

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000505
Clinical Science

Introduction: We evaluated variations in completion rates for HIV postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) according to the exposure type (occupational, nonoccupational, and sexual assault), patient, and programme characteristics.

Methods: Four major databases were searched together with conference abstract databases from inception to 1 December 2013, updated in PubMed on 1 June 2014. Randomized and nonrandomized studies reporting completion rates for PEP were included regardless of exposure type, age, or geographical location and data pooled using random-effects meta-analysis.

Results: Ninety-seven studies, reporting outcomes on 21 462 PEP initiations, were reviewed. Nonoccupational exposure to HIV was the main reason for PEP in 34 studies (n = 11 840), occupational exposure in 22 studies (n = 3058), sexual assault in 26 studies (n = 3093), and the remainder of studies (15 studies, n = 3471) reported outcomes for mixed exposures. Overall, 56.6% [95% confidence (CI) 50.9–62.2%; τ2 0.25] of people considered eligible for PEP completed the full standard 28-day course. Compared with the overall estimate of PEP completion, rates were highest for studies reporting PEP for nonoccupational exposures (65.6%, 95% CI 55.6–75.6%) and lowest for sexual assault (40.2%, 95% CI 31.2–49.2%); higher rates of PEP completion were also reported for MSM (67.2%, 95% CI 59.5–74.9%). Completion rates appeared to be lower for adolescents (36.6%, 95% CI 4.0–69.2%) compared with adults (59.1%, 95% CI 53.9–64.2%) or children (64.0%, 95% CI 41.2–86.8%).

Conclusion: Adherence to a full 28-day course of antiretroviral drugs prescribed for PEP is poor. Efforts should be made to simplify guidelines for prescribers and support adherence for people taking PEP, with particular attention needed for adolescents and victims of sexual assault.

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aDepartment of HIV/AIDS, World Health Organization Geneva, Switzerland

bDepartment of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, London, UK

cStanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA

dHIV/AIDS Unit, Infectious Disease Service, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland.

Correspondence to Dr Nathan Ford, Department of HIV/AIDS, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail:

Received 6 May, 2014

Revised 25 September, 2014

Accepted 30 September, 2014

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© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.