Methods for county-level estimation of pre-exposure prophylaxis coverage and application to the U.S. Ending the HIV Epidemic jurisdictions

Ann Epidemiol. 2020 Apr;44:16-30. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2020.01.004. Epub 2020 Jan 13.


Purpose: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a pillar of the US Department of Health and Human Services "Ending the HIV Epidemic" (EHE) initiative in 50 EHE jurisdictions (48 U.S. counties and two U.S. cities) and seven U.S. states with high numbers of HIV diagnoses rates in rural areas. Current data systems do not provide data on PrEP uptake in counties or cities.

Methods: We report on PrEP users at the county level. Data from a large, commercial pharmacy database were used; we applied the U.S. Census Bureau's method to allocate PrEP users within a ZIP3 into counties and validated the results. We report counts and rates of PrEP users in 2018 for all EHE jurisdictions. We used joinpoint regression to model the estimated annual percent change in PrEP use for each jurisdiction and state.

Results: 93,156 people in the 50 EHE jurisdictions used PrEP in 2018; 94% were men and 39% were aged 25-34 years. There was more than an 80-fold difference in the range of rates of PrEP use per 100,000 population among the EHE jurisdictions (range: 8-644 per 100,000 population; median 93 per 100,000 population). PrEP use increased from 2012 to 2018 in all EHE counties and states. At current rates of growth of PrEP use, 94% of EHE counties and jurisdictions will reach their National HIV/AIDS Strategy goals of a 500% increase in PrEP use in 2020. EHE states had less variation in rates of PrEP use (range: 29-51/100,000 population; median 32/100,000 population).

Conclusions: At the outset of a major U.S. government program to reduce HIV infections, rates of PrEP use are highly variable among the 50 EHE jurisdictions. Data from commercial prescription databases will be a useful public resource to understand progress in promoting use of PrEP as part of the EHE initiative and evaluating progress in PrEP use across health jurisdictions.

Keywords: HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis; HIV prevention; Pharmacy data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Epidemics
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Local Government
  • Male
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis / methods
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prescriptions
  • Safe Sex
  • United States


  • Anti-HIV Agents