Global PrEP roll-out: recommendations for programmatic success

Lancet HIV. 2019 Feb;6(2):e137-e140. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3018(19)30002-5. Epub 2019 Jan 16.


Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is being adopted and rolled out in diverse regions, communities, and groups. Although it has been shown to be effective, in some settings PrEP roll-out has lagged, in part due to flawed messaging. Lessons can be learned and principles applied from marketing to highlight the potential pitfalls of current roll-out strategies focused on selective and siloed service provision. After exploration of the way PrEP is promoted in awareness messaging (the sell), marketed to select and often stigmatised groups (the brand), and offered as a special or non-integrated service (product placement), we propose that current strategies can ultimately slow roll-out and contribute to stigma surrounding PrEP use. We propose alternatives for programmes and ministries to consider as they develop long-term plans for HIV prevention. We propose that the sell should focus on protection or wellness framing, the branding should convey PrEP as appropriate for anyone in need, and the provision of PrEP should be placed in the context of other relevant and valued health services. As has been shown in some PrEP programmes, it is possible for programmes to adopt modern marketing strategies that are attractive to healthy clients and might promote an inclusive and holistic vision of biomedical prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Global Health
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis / methods*
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis / organization & administration*