Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Persistence at a Diverse Sexual Health Clinic: Comparison of the pre-COVID-19 era to the COVID-19 era

AIDS Behav. 2023 Feb 4;1-10. doi: 10.1007/s10461-023-03996-3. Online ahead of print.


The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted health care delivery and exacerbated disparities. Many sexual health clinics transitioned to telemedicine, including for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients at an urban sexual health clinic to assess the likelihood and predictors of PrEP persistence in the year following PrEP initiation. We compared patients starting PrEP in the four months preceding the first COVID surge to those starting PrEP one year prior. We found lower PrEP persistence in the COVID cohort compared to the pre-COVID cohort (50.8% vs. 68.9%, respectively). In both cohorts, most care was provided through in-person visits and telemedicine was rare. In the pre-COVID cohort, older patients and those identifying as non-Hispanic White were more likely to persist on PrEP. In the COVID cohort, these disparities in PrEP persistence were not observed. Flexible models of care may facilitate equitable care engagement and re-engagement.

Keywords: COVID-19; Disparities; PrEP; Telehealth.