Pharmacies can help extend access to PrEP among MSM, says study

19 Oct 2021
Is PrEP a revolutionary medication that has the power to prevent the spread of HIV-AIDS?
Is PrEP a revolutionary medication that has the power to prevent the spread of HIV-AIDS?

Access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) may be expanded through pharmacies to reach racial minorities of men who have sex with men (MSM) with the highest need but are not being reached, suggest the results of a US study.

“Pharmacy-based PrEP discussions and screening could improve awareness of HIV status and increase PrEP knowledge and uptake,” the authors said.

The study sought to determine the willingness to discuss and be screened for PrEP in pharmacies among MSM. The authors, led by Georgia’s Fulton County Board of Health, surveyed men who attended two Atlanta-based Gay Pride events in 2018.

Participants were limited to individuals who identified as MSM who were not HIV positive and reported never using PrEP. The authors used multivariate regression to determine the correlates of willingness to discuss and be screened for PrEP in-pharmacy.

Majority of MSM (69 percent) expressed willingness to discuss PrEP with pharmacy staff, while 61.35 percent were willing to be screened for PrEP in-pharmacy. Participants who were interested in PrEP were significantly more willing to discuss PrEP in-pharmacy than those not interested in PrEP (prevalence ratio [PR], 1.65, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.11–2.48).

Of note, race did not correlate with willingness to discuss PrEP with pharmacy staff, but Black MSM were less willing to be screened in pharmacies than White MSM, until interest in PrEP was accounted for (PR, 1.27, 95 percent CI, 1.09–1.48).

“Future studies should determine optimal pharmacy conditions under which PrEP screening and uptake are acceptable for Black MSM.

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