Medication adherence, condom use and sexually transmitted infections in Australian preexposure prophylaxis users

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HIV preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) decreases risk of HIV acquisition; however, its efficacy is closely dependent on adherence. There is also concern that the preventive effect of PrEP may be offset by risk compensation, notably an increase in condomless anal sex.


Multisite, open-label demonstration study that recruited people at current or recent risk of HIV infection in Melbourne, Australia.


Participants were recruited from three general practice clinics and one sexual health clinic in Melbourne and consented to take daily tenofovir/emtricitabine (TFV/FTC) for 30 months. Sexual practice data, HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) test results were collected at baseline and 3-monthly during follow-up. PrEP adherence was evaluated by self-report at clinical visits, online surveys, refill-based assessments and dried blood spot testing. We present a 12-month interim analysis.


A total of 114 people were recruited. We observed a significant decline in condom use which occurred concomitantly with a significant increase in STIs over the first 12 months of PrEP. Incidence (per 100 person-years) of any STI was 43.2 and 119.8 at months 0–3 and 3–12, respectively [incidence rate ratio 2.77 (1.52, 5.56)]. Adherence to PrEP medication was high by all measures, including 6 month TFV/FTC levels in dried blood spot.


We found a significant reduction in condom use and an increase in STIs over the first 12 months of follow-up. High medication adherence rates occurring with a decline in condom use and a rise in STIs, suggest that prevention, early detection and treatment of STIs is a chief research priority in the current era of HIV PrEP.

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