BACKGROUND: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention is indicated for people who inject drugs (PWID), yet most studies do not focus on PWID. This study examines factors associated with PrEP awareness and willingness, and identifies perceived barriers to PrEP among PWID.
METHODS: PWID were interviewed in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA from 2016 to 2018. We analyzed data from self-reported HIV-negative participants who had injected drugs within the past 6 months (n = 469). Questions on PrEP included awareness, willingness, barriers, and uptake. Multiple logistic regression models of factors associated with awareness of, and willingness to, take PrEP were developed. Descriptive statistics on perceived PrEP barriers are reported.
RESULTS: Among HIV-negative PWID, 40% were aware of PrEP, 59% reported willingness to take PrEP, and 2% were currently taking PrEP. In multivariable analysis, PrEP awareness was associated with study site and sexual minority status, higher educational attainment, and HIV testing in the last 6 months. Willingness to take PrEP was associated with self-reported risk (paying sex partner in the last 6 months, sharing drug paraphernalia, and being injected by another PWID) and perceived HIV risk. The most common perceived barriers to PrEP were copays, concerns about increased HIV or sexually transmitted risk with PrEP, and concerns about reduction of medication efficacy without daily use.
CONCLUSION: PrEP awareness among PWID remains inadequate. Willingness to take PrEP was moderate and was most desired by PWID who engaged in high-risk behaviors. Interventions to increase PrEP awareness and willingness, and to facilitate PrEP uptake among PWID are needed.
HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis prevention awareness, willingness, and perceived barriers among people who inject drugs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, 2016-2018
Substance Use and Misuse, 55 (14), 2409-2419. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2020.1823419. PMCID: PMC7665852.