Medications for antiretroviral therapy (ART) and preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are currently daily pill regimens, which pose barriers to long-term adherence. Long-acting injectable (LAI) modalities have been developed for ART and PrEP, but minimal LAI-focused research has occurred among women. Thus, little is known about how women's history of injection for medical or nonmedical purposes may influence their interest in LAI. We conducted 89 in-depth interviews at 6 sites (New York, NY; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Atlanta, GA; Chapel Hill, NC; Washington, DC) of the Women's Interagency HIV study. Interviews occurred with women living with HIV (n = 59) and HIV-negative women (n = 30) from November 2017 to October 2018. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic content analysis. Women's prior experiences with injections occurred primarily through substance use, physical comorbidities, birth control, or flu vaccines. Four primary categories of women emerged; those who (1) received episodic injections and had few LAI-related concerns; (2) required frequent injections and would refuse additional injections; (3) had a history of injection drug use, of whom some feared LAI might trigger a recurrence, while others had few LAI-related concerns; and (4) were currently injecting drugs and had few LAI-related concerns. Most women with a history of injectable medication would prefer LAI, but those with other frequent injections and history of injection drug use might not. Future research needs to address injection-related concerns, and develop patient-centered approaches to help providers best identify which women could benefit from LAI use.
Keywords: HIV; antiretroviral therapy; long-acting injectable; women.