Discontinuations of HIV preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) by at-risk individuals could decrease the effectiveness of PrEP. Our objective was to characterize patterns of, reasons for, and clinical outcomes associated with PrEP discontinuations in primary care.
We conducted medical chart reviews for patients prescribed PrEP during 2011 to 2014 at a Boston community health centre specializing in healthcare for sexual and gender minorities. Patients were followed through 2015. We characterized patients' sociodemographics, relationship status, behavioural health conditions, patterns of and reasons for PrEP discontinuations, and HIV seroconversions. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess patient factors associated with PrEP discontinuations.
Of the 663 patients prescribed PrEP, the median age was 33 years, 96% were men who have sex with men (MSM) and 73% were non-Hispanic white; 40% were in committed relationships and 15% had HIV-infected partners. Patients either used PrEP continuously (60%), had 1 or more discontinuations (36%), or did not initiate PrEP (4%). Discontinuations were most often due to a decrease in HIV risk perception (33%), non-adherence to care plans (16%), or insurance barriers (12%). Of the 7 (1.1%) PrEP patients diagnosed with HIV, 1 was HIV-infected at baseline, 2 seroconverted while using PrEP, and 4 seroconverted after discontinuations. In a multivariable model adjusted for race/ethnicity, relationship status, substance use disorders, and insurance status, those who were less than 30 years old (aHR 2.0, 95% CI 1.4 to 2.9 for ages 18 to 24, aHR 2.2, 95% CI 1.6 to 3.1 for ages 25 to 29, vs. ages 30 to 39 years), who identified as transgender women (aHR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2 to 3.4, vs. cisgender men), and who had mental health disorders (aHR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.4 for each additional disorder) were more likely to have discontinuations.
Discontinuations of PrEP use among this American sample of predominately MSM were common, particularly among patients who were younger, identified as transgender women, or had behavioural health issues. As HIV seroconversions occurred after discontinuations of PrEP, strategies to prevent inappropriate discontinuations are needed.