Infectious Disease

PrEP awareness, referrals low among Hispanics and Latinos

October 07, 2021

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Only about a quarter of Hispanic / Latin American people who received a CDC-funded HIV test knew of PrEP, and an even smaller proportion of those eligible for HIV prevention medication were referred to a PrEP provider to as one study found.

HIV-PrEP has been approved in the United States since 2012, but uptake – though rising – has lagged behind target.

Source: Adobe Stock.

Awareness of PrEP is low among Hispanic / Latin American patients. Source: Adobe Stock.

ShubHa Rao, MPH, and colleagues in the CDC’s HIV Prevention Division used 2019 test data from a CDC-funded national HIV prevention program to assess PrEP awareness and referrals in Hispanic / Latin American patients across 60 state, local, and territorial health agencies and 29 directly funded community-based organizations.

This year 2,341,342 CDC-funded HIV tests were conducted in the United States. Of these, 546,337 (23.3%) were performed by Hispanic / Latin American patients, 919,066 (39.3%) by black patients, and 658,496 (28.1%) by white patients.

For all subjects with PrEP-related data, PrEP awareness was slightly higher in Hispanics / Latinos (27.4%) than in blacks (26.2%; prevalence rate = 1.05; 95% CI, 1.04-1 , 06), but lower compared to whites (31.4%; PR = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.87-0.88).

Hispanic Americans were referred to a PrEP provider more often (22%) compared to blacks (20.8%; PR = 1.06; 95% CI, 1.04-1.07), but less likely compared to whites (25.9%; PR.) = 0.85; 95% CI, 0.84-0.86).

“PrEP use is increasing in the Hispanic / Latin American population in the United States; however, low PrEP awareness and referral to PrEP providers among Hispanic / Latin American individuals in general and compared to non-Hispanic whites suggests the need to identify and increase barriers to accessing, routing and consuming PrEP services eliminate authors wrote.

References:

CDC. HIV. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html. Accessed October 7, 2021.

Rao S. et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021; doi: 10.15585 / mmwr.mm7040a1.

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Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH

Jeanne M. Marrazzo

This study confirms what we suspected based on the epidemiology of the emergence of HIV in the United States – namely that Hispanic and Latino people are disproportionately affected, not only by relatively low awareness of PrEP, but also that referrals from care providers in terms of PrEP are disappointingly low. We have to do better or we will never address the differences in HIV incidence in this community.

Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH

Member of the editorial board of Infectious Disease News

Director, Infectious Diseases Department

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Disclosure: Marrazzo does not report any relevant financial information.

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Race and medicine

Race and medicine

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