Women for science and science for women: Gaps, challenges and opportunities towards optimizing pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV-1 prevention

Front Immunol. 2022 Dec 6:13:1055042. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.1055042. eCollection 2022.


Preventing new HIV infections remains a global challenge. Young women continue to bear a disproportionate burden of infection. Oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), offers a novel women-initiated prevention technology and PrEP trials completed to date underscore the importance of their inclusion early in trials evaluating new HIV PrEP technologies. Data from completed topical and systemic PrEP trials highlight the role of gender specific physiological and social factors that impact PrEP uptake, adherence and efficacy. Here we review the past and current developments of HIV-1 prevention options for women with special focus on PrEP considering the diverse factors that can impact PrEP efficacy. Furthermore, we highlight the importance of inclusion of female scientists, clinicians, and community advocates in scientific efforts to further improve HIV prevention strategies.

Keywords: HIV; PrEP; gender equity; inflammation; microbiome; mucosal transmission; prevention; women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • HIV Seropositivity* / drug therapy
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis*


  • Anti-HIV Agents