Knowledge, Practices, and Barriers to HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis Prescribing Among Washington State Medical Providers

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Abstract

Background

We aimed to assess HIV preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) awareness and prescribing practices among Washington State medical providers from diverse professional disciplines and practice types.

Methods

In May 2016, we administered an anonymous online survey to licensed medical practitioners who provide primary, longitudinal, walk-in, emergency, obstetric, gynecologic, sexually transmitted infection, or family planning care.

Results

Of 735 eligible providers, 64.8% had heard of PrEP. Younger providers and providers with a doctor of medicine degree were more likely to be aware of PrEP compared with older providers (P = 0.0001) and providers of other training backgrounds (advanced registered nurse practitioner, doctor of osteopathic medicine, or physician assistant; P = 0.04). Among providers aware of PrEP, most frequent reported concerns about prescribing were adherence (46.0%) and costs (42.9%). Providers felt very (20.1%) or somewhat (33.8%) comfortable discussing PrEP overall, but very (26.8%) or somewhat (44.7%) uncomfortable discussing cost and insurance issues. The 124 PrEP prescribers reported a median of 2 (range, 1–175; total, 1142) patients prescribed PrEP. Prior authorizations and insurance denials had prevented prescriptions for 28.7% and 12.1% of prescribers, respectively.

Conclusions

Interventions to improve PrEP access should include education to inform medical providers about PrEP, with particular attention to provider types less likely to be aware. Continued efforts to eliminate cost and insurance barriers and educate providers regarding financial resources would help improve PrEP access.

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