Introduction Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for the prevention of HIV transmission is under utilised by women in the US. Women seeking abortion have a higher HIV prevalence than women who continue prenatal care and could benefit from HIV risk assessment and PrEP counselling. We assessed the knowledge, attitudes, and preferences of women seeking abortion care regarding their HIV risk and knowledge of PrEP, and identified individual and system barriers to PrEP access.
Methods We performed a cross sectional descriptive study of English speaking women at a freestanding abortion clinic through an anonymous survey. Participants with indications for PrEP care included those who performed sex work, experienced a recent sexually transmitted infection, or had multiple sexual partners and inconsistent condom use. We performed descriptive statistics on response data; Wilcoxon tests were used to compare continuous variables across groups.
Results 64 (32.3%) participants had indications for PrEP, but only 31 (16.1%) had previous knowledge of PrEP. After the concept was explained, attitudes towards PrEP were generally positive, and 54 participants (27.8%) would consider starting PrEP in the next 6 months. Participants were most interested in receiving PrEP care from their primary care provider rather than from an abortion clinic.
Conclusions Among women seeking abortion, women vulnerable to HIV infection outnumbered those with PrEP knowledge by 2 to 1. Prior knowledge of PrEP as an HIV prevention method was low, but women found PrEP acceptable. While women reported preferring to receive PrEP from a primary care provider, the abortion clinic visit may also represent an important time for HIV education and risk screening.
- human immunodeficiency virus
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