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Brief Report

Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Awareness and Use Among Cisgender Women at a Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic

Raifman, Julia R. ScD*; Schwartz, Sheree R. PhD; Sosnowy, Collette D. PhD; Montgomery, Madeline C. MPH; Almonte, Alexi BA§; Bazzi, Angela R. PhD, MPH; Drainoni, Mari-Lynn PhD, MEd*,¶; Stein, Michael D. MD*; Willie, Tiara C. MA; Nunn, Amy S. ScD; Chan, Philip A. MD, MS‡,§

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: January 1, 2019 - Volume 80 - Issue 1 - p 36–39
doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001879
Prevention Research

Background: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective in preventing HIV transmission. Cisgender women (cis-women) constitute only a small proportion of PrEP users in the United States despite accounting for 19% of new HIV infections in 2016.

Setting: The Rhode Island Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Clinic from 2013 to 2016.

Methods: We report on the demographic and behavioral characteristics of all HIV-negative, cis-women who presented to the Clinic and of those who met Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indications for PrEP. In a logistic regression analysis, we evaluated PrEP awareness among cis-women by year and demographic characteristics. We compared PrEP awareness among cis-women with PrEP awareness among cisgender men who have sex with men and among cisgender men who inject drugs presenting to the Clinic.

Results: Among 1431 HIV-negative cis-women, 84 (5.8%) met CDC indications for PrEP. PrEP awareness was significantly lower among Hispanic/Latina cis-women [11.0%; adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 0.46, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.31 to 0.66] and non-Hispanic black cis-women (13.8%; AOR: 0.59, 95% CI: 0.39 to 0.89) relative to non-Hispanic white cis-women (20.7%). Men who have sex with men had significantly greater PrEP awareness (60.3%; AOR: 5.85, 95% CI: 3.35 to 10.23) than cis-women (22.9%). Only one woman reported PrEP use.

Conclusions: Two-thirds of HIV-negative cis-women presenting for HIV/sexually transmitted disease testing and meeting CDC indications for PrEP were unaware of PrEP, and only one woman reported ever using PrEP. There is a critical need for public health professionals and health care providers to increase PrEP awareness and use among cis-women at risk for HIV.

*Department of Health Law, Policy and Management, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA;

Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD;

Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI;

§Department of Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI;

Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA; and

Evans Center for Implementation and Improvement Sciences, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA.

Correspondence to: Philip A. Chan, MD, MS, Department of Medicine, Brown University, 1125 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02904 (e-mail:

Supported by funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (R25MH083620, R01MH114657, and K01MH116817).

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Received June 11, 2018

Accepted September 13, 2018

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.