Awareness of, referral to HIV PrEP low among Hispanics
About one in four Hispanic persons tested for HIV are aware of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and about one in five of those eligible for referral are referred to PrEP providers, according to research published in the Oct. 8 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Shubha Rao, M.P.H., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed 2019 National HIV Prevention Program Monitoring and Evaluation HIV testing data to examine PrEP awareness and referral to providers among Hispanic persons.
The researchers found that about 27 percent of the 310,954 Hispanic persons tested for HIV at CDC-funded sites were aware of PrEP; of the 111,644 who received a negative HIV test and were eligible for referral, 22 percent were referred to PrEP providers. Awareness and referrals for PrEP were lower among Hispanic persons versus non-Hispanic Whites. Significant differences in PrEP awareness and referrals among Hispanic persons were seen by age, gender, race, population group, geographic region, and test setting.
“Low levels of PrEP awareness and referrals to PrEP providers among Hispanic persons in general and compared with non-Hispanic White persons suggest a need to identify and remove barriers to awareness of, referral to, and receipt of PrEP services,” the authors write. “Routinizing PrEP education and referrals, expanding coverage for PrEP medications, and implementing culturally and linguistically relevant strategies might improve optimal and equitable use of PrEP among Hispanic persons at risk for HIV infection.”