Adolescent Human Immunodeficiency Virus Care Providers’ Attitudes Toward the Use of Oral Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis in Youth

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Abstract

Oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention is currently indicated for use in adults in the United States and may soon be indicated for minor adolescents. However, implementation of PrEP use among minors may present unique barriers. We conducted 15 individual, semistructured interviews among US clinicians caring for HIV-infected and at-risk youth. The theory-driven interview guide assessed demographics, perceived role of oral PrEP in HIV prevention among adolescents, perceived barriers to and facilitating factors for use of PrEP in adolescents, and clinician-reported likelihood of prescribing PrEP. Transcripts were analyzed using framework analysis. Overall, clinicians viewed PrEP as a time-limited intervention that is one part of a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention among adolescents. Perceived barriers to prescribing to minors included concerns about: confidentiality, legality of minors consenting to PrEP without parental involvement, ability of minors to understand the risks/benefits of PrEP, the possible impact of PrEP on bone accrual, off-label use of PrEP medication in minors, and the high costs associated with PrEP use. Clinician-reported facilitating factors for prescribing PrEP to youth included educating communities and other clinicians about PrEP, ensuring adequate financial resources and infrastructure for delivering PrEP, developing formal guidance on effective behavioral interventions that should be delivered with PrEP, and gaining personal experience with prescribing PrEP. Clinicians indicated greater comfort with prescribing PrEP to adults versus minors. For PrEP to become more widely available to youth at risk for HIV infection, barriers that are unique to PrEP use in minors must be addressed.

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