Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is effective in preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among sexual and gender minorities (SGMs). We evaluated the characteristics associated with engagement in 7 steps of the PrEP cascade among SGMs in Nigeria.
Sexual and gender minorities without HIV from the Abuja site of TRUST/RV368 cohort who were surveyed on awareness of and willingness to use PrEP were approached for PrEP initiation upon availability of oral daily PrEP. To understand gaps in the uptake of oral daily PrEP, we categorized the HIV PrEP cascade as (i) education about PrEP, (ii) interest in PrEP, (iii) successful contact, (iv) appointment scheduled, (v) appointment attendance, (vi) PrEP initiation, and (vii) plasma protective levels of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to determine factors associated with each of the 7 steps in the HIV PrEP cascade.
Of 788 participants, 718 (91.1%) showed interest in taking oral daily PrEP every day and/or after a sexual act, 542 (68.8%) were successfully contacted, 433 (54.9%) scheduled an appointment, 409 (51.9%) attended a scheduled appointment, 400 (50.8%) initiated oral daily PrEP, and 59 (7.4%) had protective levels of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Of initiators of PrEP, 23 (5.8%) seroconverted at a rate of 13.9 cases/100 person-years. Better social support, larger network density, and higher education were associated with engagement in 4 to 5 components of the cascade.
Our data highlight a gap between willingness and actual PrEP use. Despite PrEP’s effectiveness in preventing HIV, the optimal impact of PrEP for SGMs in sub-Saharan Africa will require multifaceted approaches that combine social support, education, and destigmatization.