Baseline preferences for oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or dapivirine intravaginal ring for HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young women in South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe (MTN-034/IPM-045 study)

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Introduction: Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in sub-Saharan Africa are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic and face an array of challenges using proven behavioral and biomedical prevention methods. To address the urgent need for expanding prevention options, we evaluated the baseline preferences of HIV prevention methods among participants enrolled in the MTN-034/REACH crossover trial along with their stated product preference prior to product initiation. Methods: AGYW aged 16-21 years were enrolled at 4 study sites: Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa; Kampala, Uganda; and Harare, Zimbabwe and randomly assigned to the sequence of using oral PrEP and the dapivirine ring for 6 months each, followed by a choice period in which they could choose either product (or neither) for an additional six months. Eligible AGYW were HIV-negative, not pregnant and using effective contraception for at least two months prior to enrollment. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize demographic and behavioral data while multinomial analysis was used to determine predictors of stated product preference (ring or oral PrEP). Results: Of the 247 AGYW enrolled in REACH, 34% were aged 16-17 and 89% had a primary partner.The median age of sexual debut was 16 years and 40% had ever been pregnant. At screening, 35% of participants were diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI), 39% had an AUDIT-C score associated with harmful drinking and 11% reported intimate partner violence in the past 6 months. Overall, 28% of participants, had CESD-10 scores suggestive of depressive symptoms (≥12) in the past week. At baseline, similar proportions stated a preference for the ring and oral PrEP (38.1% and 40.5% respectively), with 19% of participants stating they preferred both products equally. Only study site was significantly associated with product preference (PConclusions: We successfully enrolled African AGYW with a clear unmet need for HIV prevention. The balanced preference between the two products suggests that multiple biomedical prevention options may be appealing to this age group and could address their prevention needs.






The Dapivirine Vaginal Ring for HIV Prevention