HIV endpoint-driven clinical trials in Africa enroll women who are at heightened risk of acquiring HIV. In 2017, the South African Medical Research Council recommended the provision of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in HIV prevention trials, at which time the Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes trial was ongoing and began to provide PrEP on-site at some trial sites. We interviewed 132 women who initiated PrEP on-site at the Durban, South Africa trial site to explore PrEP use, and conducted phone-based interviews 4-6 months post-trial exit to explore post-trial PrEP access. PrEP uptake was high (42.6%). Among women initiating PrEP on-site, 87.9% felt at risk of acquiring HIV. Most women (> 90%) heard of PrEP for the first time from study staff and three-quarters who initiated PrEP on-site continued at trial-exit. PrEP use declined post-trial exit with more than 50% of women discontinuing PrEP, and barriers relating to access emerged.
Keywords: Clinical trials; HIV prevention; Oral pre-exposure prophylaxis; Women.