Perceived Risk Among Human Immunodeficiency Virus Serodiscordant Couples in East Africa Taking Oral Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

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Perceived risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is thought to drive low adherence in pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trials. We explored the level of perceived risk of incident HIV infection in the Partners PrEP Study, in which adherence was generally high.


A cross-sectional questionnaire assessed perceived risk of HIV at 12 months after enrollment. Logistic regression was used to analyze the relationship between perceived risk and other demographic and behavioral variables.


Three thousand two hundred twenty-six couples from the Partners PrEP Study were included in this analysis. Only 15.4% of participants reported high or moderate perceived risk. Participants at high risk of acquiring HIV were slightly more likely to report high perceived risk (odds ratio, 1.60; 95% confidence interval, 1.30–1.95; P < 0.001); nevertheless, only 20% of participants with high-risk reported high perceived risk.


Participants reported low perceived risk of HIV but were adherent to PrEP. Perceptions of risk are likely socially determined and more complex than Likert scale questionnaires capture.

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