Increasing Urban African American Women's Readiness for Pre-exposure Prophylaxis: A Pilot Study of the Women Prepping for PrEp Plus Program (WP3+)

Womens Health Issues. 2024 May-Jun;34(3):241-249. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2023.11.001. Epub 2024 Jan 23.

Abstract

Background: African American women are disproportionately at risk for HIV infection. To increase women's readiness to consider taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), we conducted a pilot study of Women Prepping for PrEP Plus (WP3+). Adapted from an evidence-based HIV risk reduction intervention for African American couples who are HIV-serodiscordant, WP3+ is a group-based culturally congruent program designed for African American women without HIV.

Methods: Women were screened for eligibility; if eligible, they were invited to participate in the four-session WP3+ group. Participants completed surveys at baseline (n = 47) and post-implementation (n = 28); surveys assessed demographics, HIV and PrEP knowledge, depression and posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms, substance use, sexual risk behaviors, health care-related discrimination, and social support. In a process evaluation, a subset of women completed qualitative interviews at baseline (n = 35) and post-implementation (n = 18); the interviews were designed to converge with (e.g., on HIV and PrEP knowledge) and expand upon (e.g., unmeasured perceived impacts of WP3+) quantitative measures. To triangulate with the quantitative data, deductive qualitative analysis concentrated on women's knowledge and awareness of PrEP and HIV, their relationship dynamics and challenges, and their considerations (e.g., barriers, facilitators) related to taking PrEP; inductive analysis focused on women's experiences in the intervention.

Results: Participants in the WP3+ intervention reported: improved proportion of condom use in the past 90 days (p < .01) and in a typical week (p < .05); reduced PTS symptoms (p < .05); increased HIV knowledge (p < .0001) and awareness of PrEP (p < .001); and greater consideration of using PrEP (p < .001). In interviews, participants expressed not only increased knowledge but also appreciation for learning how to protect themselves against HIV, communicate with their partners, and take charge of their health, and they expressed greater receptiveness to using PrEP as a result of the knowledge and skills they gained.

Conclusions: The WP3+ pilot study demonstrated preliminary efficacy and acceptability as an HIV-prevention program for African American women. A controlled trial is needed to confirm its efficacy for increasing PrEP use among African American women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents* / administration & dosage
  • Anti-HIV Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Black or African American* / psychology
  • Black or African American* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / ethnology
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Partners
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Anti-HIV Agents