Reaching Those Most at Risk for HIV Acquisition: Evaluating Racial/Ethnic Disparities in the Preexposure Prophylaxis Care Continuum in Baltimore City, Maryland

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Abstract

Background:Reducing HIV incidence requires addressing persistent racial/ethnic disparities in HIV burden. Our goal was to evaluate preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) delivery, overall and relative to community need, among 7 clinical sites participating in a health department-led demonstration project to increase PrEP in Baltimore city, MD.Methods:PrEP care continuum stages (screened, indicated, referred, linked, evaluated, prescribed) were examined among HIV-negative individuals receiving services at participating sites between September 30, 2015 and September 29, 2019. Community need was defined using information on new HIV diagnoses (2016-2018). Differences in care continuum progression by demographics/priority population and comparison of demographic compositions between care continuum stages and new HIV diagnoses were examined using modified Poisson regression and χ2tests, respectively.Results:Among 25,886 PrEP-screened individuals, the majority were non-Hispanic (NH) black (81.1%, n = 20,998), cisgender male (61.1%, n = 15,825), and heterosexual (86.7%, n = 22,452). Overall, 31.1% (n = 8063) were PrEP-indicated; among whom, 56.8% (n = 4578), 15.6% (n = 1250), 10.8% (n = 868), and 9.0% (n = 722) were PrEP-referred, linked, evaluated, and prescribed, respectively. Among 2870 men who have sex with men (MSM), 18.7% (n = 538) were PrEP-prescribed. Across all groups, the highest attrition was between PrEP-referred and PrEP-linked. NH-black race (vs. NH-white) was independently associated with lower likelihood of PrEP prescription (aPR, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.81 to 0.98 controlling for age/gender). Relative to the demographic composition of new HIV diagnoses, fewer NH-blacks (80.2% vs. 54.3%) and more NH-whites (10.7% vs. 30.3%) and MSM were PrEP prescribed (55.2% vs. 74.5%).Conclusions:This project showed promise delivering PrEP referrals and prescriptions overall and to MSM. Substantial improvement is needed to improve linkage overall and to decrease disparities in PrEP prescriptions among NH-blacks. Future work should focus on addressing service gaps that hinder PrEP utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1153
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Volume87
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2021

Keywords

  • HIV
  • health disparities
  • preexposure prophylaxis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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