Background: Although pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was approved for primary HIV prevention by the Federal Drug Administration in 2012, PrEP utilization has been suboptimal. A body of literature and programs has emerged to examine the role of nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants and nursing staff in PrEP care. This review aims to understand the current status of non-physician health providers in PrEP care implementation in the United States.
Methods: Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidance, we conducted a comprehensive literature search using multiple databases to identify peer-reviewed articles that examined the role of non-physician health providers in the implementation of PrEP. Four major databases of studies using observational study design, randomized control trials and mixed-method study design were screened from November 2019 to January 2020 were searched. Two independent reviewers examined eligibility and conducted data extraction. We employed random-effects model aims to capture variances of estimates across studies.
Results: A total of 26 studies with 15,789 health professionals, including NPs (18, 95% CI = 14,24%), physician assistants (6, 95% CI = 2, 10%), nursing staff (26, 95% CI = 18-34%), and physicians (62,95% CI = 45, 75%), were included in the analysis. The odds of prescribing PrEP to patients among NPs were 40% (OR = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.02,1.92) higher than that among physicians, while the likelihood of being willing to prescribe PrEP was similar. On the other hand, the odds of being aware of PrEP (OR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.46, 0.87) was 37% less in nursing professionals than that among physicians.
Conclusions: Although the limited number and scope of existing studies constrained the generalizability of our findings, the pattern of PrEP care implementation among non-physician health providers was described. To achieve wider PrEP care implementation in the U.S., increasing awareness of PrEP among all health providers including both physicians and non-physicians is a key step.
Keywords: Meta-analysis; Non-physician health providers; PrEP care implementation; Systematic review; United States.