Perceived HIV Acquisition Risk and Low Uptake of PrEP Among a Cohort of Transgender Women With PrEP Indication in the Eastern and Southern United States

Jowanna Malone, Sari L. Reisner, Erin E. Cooney, Tonia Poteat, Christopher M. Cannon, Jason S. Schneider, Asa Radix, Kenneth H. Mayer, J. Sonya Haw, Keri N. Althoff, Andrew J. Wawrzyniak, Chris Beyrer, Andrea L. Wirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction:Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is effective in preventing HIV among adherent users. However, PrEP uptake among transgender women is low, and current prescribing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are not specific to transgender women. Self-perceived risk of HIV among those who are PrEP-indicated is not well understood.Methods:This cross-sectional analysis included 1293 transgender women screened at baseline from March 2018 to May 2020 for a multisite, prospective cohort study. We compared the prevalence of PrEP indication using current CDC prescribing criteria versus transgender women-specific criteria developed by study investigators with community input. We identified factors associated with study-specific PrEP indication and factors associated with self-perceived low to no HIV risk among those who were PrEP-indicated. We also calculated descriptive statistics to depict the PrEP care continuum.Results:PrEP indication prevalence using transgender women-specific criteria was 47% (611), 155 more than who were identified using the CDC criteria. Eighty-three percent were aware of PrEP, among whom 38% had ever used PrEP. Among PrEP ever users, 63% were using PrEP at the time of the study. There were 66% of current PrEP users who reported 100% adherence within the previous 7 days. Among those who were PrEP-indicated, 13% were using and adherent to PrEP at the time of the study. More than half (55%) of PrEP-indicated participants had low or no self-perceived HIV risk.Conclusions:These findings suggest that further guidance is needed for health care providers in prescribing PrEP to transgender women. Greater uptake and adherence are also needed for optimal effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-18
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • HIV prevention
  • PrEP indication
  • health belief model
  • self-perceived risk
  • transgender women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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