Introduction: Youth account for a disproportionate number of new HIV infections; however, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use is limited. We evaluated PrEP counselling rates among non-Hispanic Black youth in the United States after a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of Black youth receiving care at two academically affiliated clinics in Philadelphia between June 2014 and June 2019. We compared PrEP counselling for youth who received primary care services versus those who did not receive primary care services, all of whom met PrEP eligibility criteria due to STI diagnosis per U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clinical practice guidelines. Two logistic regression models for receipt of PrEP counselling were fit: Model 1 focused on sexual and gender minority (SGM) status and Model 2 on rectal STIs with both models adjusted for patient- and healthcare-level factors.
Results: Four hundred and sixteen patients met PrEP eligibility criteria due to STI based on sex assigned at birth and sexual partners. Thirty patients (7%) had documentation of PrEP counselling. Receipt of primary care services was not significantly associated with receipt of PrEP counselling in either Model 1 (adjusted OR (aOR) 0.10 [95% CI 0.01, 0.99]) or Model 2 (aOR 0.52 [95% CI 0.10, 2.77]). Receipt of PrEP counselling was significantly associated with later calendar years of STI diagnosis (aOR 6.80 [95% CI 1.64, 29.3]), assigned male sex at birth (aOR 26.2 [95% CI 3.46, 198]) and SGM identity (aOR 317 [95% CI 39.9, 2521]) in Model 1 and later calendar years of diagnosis (aOR 3.46 [95% CI 1.25, 9.58]), assigned male sex at birth (aOR 18.6 [95% CI 3.88, 89.3]) and rectal STI diagnosis (aOR 28.0 [95% CI 8.07, 97.5]) in Model 2. Fourteen patients (3%) started PrEP during the observation period; 12/14 (86%) were SGM primary care patients assigned male sex at birth.
Conclusions: PrEP counselling and uptake among U.S. non-Hispanic Black youth remain disproportionately low despite recent STI diagnosis. These findings support the need for robust investment in PrEP-inclusive sexual health services that are widely implemented and culturally tailored to Black youth, particularly cisgender heterosexual females.
Keywords: HIV prevention; adolescents; gender; key and vulnerable populations; pre-exposure prophylaxis; sexually transmitted diseases.
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of the International AIDS Society published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the International AIDS Society.