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

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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.

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