Provider views of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for cisgender women - where do women fit in HIV elimination in Australia?

Publication Name

Sexual Health


Background. HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in Australia has largely been targeted at gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. In the context of HIV elimination, the aim of this qualitative study was to explore PrEP prescribing for Australian cisgender women from the provider's perspective. Methods. Semi-structured interviews were held with Australian prescribers in 2022. Participants were recruited through relevant clinical services, newsletter distribution and snowball sampling. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically. Results. Seventeen prescribers participated, of whom 9 were sexual health physicians and 10 worked in New South Wales. All reported limited clinical experience prescribing PrEP for women. Potential enablers to PrEP prescribing to women included education for women and clinicians, easily identifiable risk factors, individualised risk assessment and expansion of existing services. Barriers were limited PrEP awareness among women and prescribers, difficulties with risk assessment and consult and service limitations. The type of service recommended for PrEP provision varied among participants. Conclusions. Clinician experience of PrEP prescribing to Australian cisgender women is limited, with substantial barriers to access perceived by prescribers. Targeted education to PrEP prescribers, updated national PrEP guidelines to include women as a distinct group and further research regarding women's preferred model of PrEP access are required. Clarity of clinical ownership over PrEP implementation for women and, more broadly, women's sexual health, is essential in order to achieve HIV elimination in Australia.

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Funding Sponsor

Gilead Sciences



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