Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a highly effective, pharmacologic method of HIV prevention. Despite its safety and efficacy, PrEP prescription remains low in those patients who are at highest risk for HIV infection. One possible reason for this may be the lack of inclusion of PrEP and HIV prevention discussions within the curricula of health professions education.
An online survey was administered to a cross-sectional sample of future prescribers (osteopathic/allopathic medical and physician assistant students), future nurses, and future pharmacists (n = 2085) in the United States between January and July 2019 to assess and compare awareness of PrEP, PrEP education, PrEP knowledge, and confidence in 2 areas related to PrEP.
We show that, overall, awareness of PrEP is high among future health care providers (81.6%), with the future pharmacists reporting the greatest awareness (92.2%; P < 0.001) and more commonly reporting PrEP education (71.0%). Students had mixed knowledge of PrEP, with future pharmacists reporting the highest knowledge of PrEP. Approximately 30% of students in all disciplines reported having low confidence counseling a patient about PrEP and low confidence educating a colleague about PrEP. Knowledge of PrEP was a significant predictor of confidence counseling a patient about PrEP (P < 0.001) and educating a colleague about PrEP (P < 0.001).
This study identifies opportunities to improve and incorporate evidence-based strategies for educating future health care providers about PrEP for HIV prevention within health professions curricula.