Awareness and use of pre-exposure and postexposure prophylaxes among Nigerian university students: Findings from a cross-sectional survey

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Abstract

Despite the recent advances in biomedical preventive strategies, young adults—especially adolescent girls— continue to be disproportionately at risk of acquiring HIV. To avert this trend, it is critical that access to HIV preventive strategies, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and postexposure prophylaxis be expanded, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where young adults are known to engage in risky sexual practices. This study examined awareness levels and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) among Nigerian university students.

A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 800 students selected using stratified random sampling at 2 Nigerian universities. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for data analysis on 784 complete responses.

The levels of awareness of PrEP and PEP were 18.9% and 25.4%, respectively. Ever tested for human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] (AOR: 1.58; 95% CI: 1.04–2.42) and knowledge of partner's HIV status (AOR: 1.87; 95% CI: 1.25–2.79) were the significant determinants of awareness to PrEP. In contrast, only ever tested for HIV (AOR: 1.50; 95% CI: 1.02–2.19), knowledge of partner's HIV status (AOR: 1.55; 95% CI: 1.07–2.24), ever used condoms (AOR: 1.65; 95% CI: 1.04–2.62), and nude exchanges (AOR: 1.62; 95% CI: 1.13–2.31) were independent determinants of awareness of PEP. Only a few students had seen (5.6%) or used (1.5%) any prophylaxes.

The study findings indicate a low level of awareness and use of PrEP and PEP. To ensure no one is left behind in the goal of elimination of new HIV infections, intervention to expand access to these preventive strategies is needed in the study settings.

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