Primary care clinicians’ experiences prescribing HIV PrEP at a specialized community health centre

Journal of the International AIDS Society 2016, 19:21165

Abstract:

Introduction: An estimated 1.2 million Americans have indications for using antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV acquisition. For many of these at-risk individuals, the best opportunity to learn about and receive PrEP will be during routine visits to their generalist primary care clinicians. However, few generalist clinicians have prescribed PrEP, primarily because of practical concerns about providing PrEP in primary care settings. The experiences of specialized primary care clinicians who have prescribed PrEP can inform the feasibility of PrEP provision by generalists.

Methods: During January to February 2015, 35 primary care clinicians at a community health centre in Boston that specializes in the care of sexual and gender minorities completed anonymous surveys about their experiences and practices with PrEP provision. Responses were analyzed with descriptive statistics.

Results and discussion: Thirty-two clinicians (response rate=91%) completed the surveys. Nearly all clinicians (97%) had prescribed PrEP (median 20 patients, interquartile range 11–33). Most clinicians reported testing and risk-reduction counselling practices concordant with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for PrEP. Clinicians indicated that patients using PrEP experienced medication toxicities infrequently and generally reported high adherence. However, some clinicians’ practices differed from guideline recommendations, and some clinicians observed patients with increased risk behaviours. Most clinicians (79%) rated PrEP provision as easy to accomplish, and 97% considered themselves likely to prescribe PrEP in the future.

Conclusions: In a primary care clinic with specialized expertise in HIV prevention, clinicians perceived that PrEP provision to large numbers of patients was safe, feasible and potentially effective. Efforts to engage generalist primary care clinicians in PrEP provision could facilitate scale-up of this efficacious intervention.

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