Integrating Preexposure Prophylaxis for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Prevention Into Women's Health Care in the United States

Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Jul;128(1):37-43. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001455.


Women comprise one in five new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnoses in the United States. Trials and implementation projects demonstrate preexposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention is effective in women. Preexposure prophylaxis is a method of preventing HIV acquisition by having an HIV-negative individual take antiretroviral medication before exposure. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved daily oral tenofovir disoproxil fumarate coformulated with emtricitabine as preexposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention in 2012. Preexposure prophylaxis is highly dependent on adherence for effectiveness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends offering preexposure prophylaxis to individuals at significant risk of infection and estimates 468,000 women in the United States are eligible for preexposure prophylaxis. Although variable individual and structural forces affect each woman's medication adherence, and therefore the effectiveness of preexposure prophylaxis, women's health care providers are uniquely positioned to screen, counsel about, and offer preexposure prophylaxis. Shared decision-making provides a framework for these clinical encounters, allowing patients and clinicians to make health care decisions together based on scientific evidence and patient experiences. By incorporating fertility desires and contraceptive needs, health care providers effectively integrate sexual and reproductive health care. Including preexposure prophylaxis in women's health services requires health care provider training and attention to lessons learned from family planning and HIV prevention. Nevertheless, obstetrician-gynecologists have an opportunity to play a critical role in reducing sexual transmission of HIV in the United States by integrating preexposure prophylaxis education and provision into their practices.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage
  • Decision Making
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / methods
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis / methods*
  • Reproductive Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Tenofovir / administration & dosage*
  • Women's Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Women's Health* / standards
  • Women's Health* / statistics & numerical data


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Tenofovir