"Far More than Just a Prescription": Focus Groups With U.S. Family Planning Providers and Staff About Integrating PrEP for HIV Prevention Into Their Work

Womens Health Issues. 2021 May-Jun;31(3):294-300. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2021.02.006. Epub 2021 Apr 8.


Background: Cisgender women in the United States use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention at lower rates relative to other groups. Advocacy groups and patients identify family planning clinics as the preferred sites to lead PrEP implementation for women in the United States. However, limited qualitative exploration exists of U.S. family planning practitioners' attitudes toward integrating PrEP into their work.

Methods: We conducted qualitative focus groups with a convenience sample of family planning clinicians, counselors, and clinic managers to explore barriers and facilitators to PrEP provision in U.S. family planning clinics.

Results: We conducted six focus groups (total participants = 37) with respondents who worked in family planning clinics in San Francisco, California; Kansas City, Missouri; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Key themes emerged highlighting how PrEP at times runs contrary to other family planning agendas, including efficient clinic visits, condom promotion, and long-acting reversible contraception counseling. Throughout these discussions, participants expressed discomfort with HIV vulnerabilities rooted in social and structural determinants of health.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that those seeking to implement PrEP for U.S. cisgender women may benefit from exploring 1) how to integrate patient/provider conversations about the structural determinants of health and their relationship to HIV and other sexual and reproductive health outcomes and 2) how to foster person-centered prevention conversations in the context of busy family planning visits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Family Planning Services*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Missouri
  • Philadelphia
  • Prescriptions
  • San Francisco
  • United States