Bazzi AR, Valasek CJ, Streuli SA, Vera CF, Harvey-Vera A, Philbin MM, Biello KB, Roth AM, Strathdee SA, Pines HA. Long-Acting Injectable Human Immunodeficiency Virus Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Preferred Over Other Modalities Among People Who Inject Drugs: Findings from a Qualitative Study in California. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2022 Jul;36(7):254-262. doi: 10.1089/apc.2022.0068. Epub 2022 Jun 21. PMID: 35727647.
People who inject drugs (PWID) have extraordinarily low uptake of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) despite high levels of need. Long-acting PrEP modalities hold promise for HIV prevention among PWID, but product preferences remain poorly understood. From September to November 2021, we conducted qualitative interviews with 28 HIV-negative, adult (≥18 years) PWID in San Diego County, CA, to explore their perspectives on daily oral PrEP pills and long-acting PrEP modalities (i.e., injections, implants, intravaginal rings, and broadly neutralizing antibodies), which we explained using standard scripts. Thematic analysis identified variations in PrEP modality interest and acceptability. We identified three key factors across the 28 interviews that appeared to influence PrEP modality preferences: perceived convenience of use, invasiveness, and familiarity (based on past experience). Overall, most participants preferred injectable PrEP over other modalities because they viewed injectable medications as convenient, noninvasive, and familiar. While injectable PrEP was recently approved for use in the United States and was most the acceptable PrEP modality in this sample, our findings suggest that intervention and implementation research is urgently needed to improve our understanding of strategies that could support access, uptake, and sustained adherence to longer-acting PrEP for PWID.