Acceptance of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) referral among a sample of PrEP-eligible emergency department patients

Kiran A. Faryar, Robert Braun, Rachel M. Ancona, Caroline Freiermuth, Michael S. Lyons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP) reduces the rate of HIV transmission in high-risk groups. Emergency departments (EDs) frequently encounter patients at risk for HIV acquisition who are eligible for PrEP. ED HIV screening programs have prioritized testing and linkage to care for patients who test positive, but fail to refer HIV-negative patients to PrEP clinicians. Our objective was to estimate referral acceptance to a PrEP clinician among a sample of at-risk ED patients. Methods: This single-center cross-sectional study electronically queried a prospectively acquired dataset of survey responses from a sample of patients presenting to an urban academic ED from March 2019 to February 2020. Patients completed a risk assessment as part of the HIV screening program. PrEP eligibility was based off survey responses in accordance with 2017 CDC PrEP eligibility criteria. Identified PrEP-eligible patients completed a PrEP questionnaire. The primary outcome was the proportion of PrEP-eligible patients who accepted referral to a PrEP clinician during their ED encounter. We secondarily report patient participant characteristics including the proportion of PrEP-eligible patients who were aware of and were knowledgeable about PrEP as a method to prevent transmission of HIV. Results: In total, 360 patients completed a PrEP questionnaire, of which 287 (80%) were not currently taking PrEP and eligible for PrEP referral. 57% were males, with 41% Black/African American. Of the 287 eligible for PrEP, 61 (21.3%, 95% CI: 16.8–26.5) indicated awareness of PrEP, of which, 49 (80.3%, 95% CI: 67.8–89.0) demonstrated accurate knowledge of PrEP. PrEP referral was offered to 238 (82.9%, 95% CI: 78.0–87.0) patients, of which, 76 (31.9%, 95% CI: 26.1–38.3) accepted. Conclusions: Approximately one third of PrEP-eligible ED patients accepted PrEP referral during their ED encounter, demonstrating an opportunity for increased PrEP education and intentional referral for eligible patients. Variability in PrEP acceptability by demographic and risk subgroup may be an important consideration in efforts to expand PrEP utilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-155
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Emergency department
  • HIV
  • PrEP acceptance
  • PrEP referral
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis


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