Missed opportunities to prescribe HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis by primary care providers in Saint Louis, Missouri

Rupa R. Patel, Philip A. Chan, Laura C. Harrison, Kenneth H. Mayer, Amy Nunn, Leandro A. Mena, William G. Powderly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose: Optimal HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) scale-up in the United States requires prescribing by primary care providers (PCPs). We assessed barriers to patients obtaining PrEP from their PCPs. Methods: Patients seeking PrEP at an Infectious Diseases (ID) Clinic in St. Louis, Missouri from 2014 to 2016 were asked about demographics, sexual behaviors, whether PrEP was initially sought from their PCP, and barriers to obtaining PrEP from their PCP. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify predictors for having asked a PCP for PrEP. Results: Among 102 patients, the median age was 29 years, 58% were white, and 88% were men who have sex with men. Most (65%) had a PCP and, of these, 48% had asked their PCP for PrEP, but were not prescribed it. About half (52%) reported that their PCPs perceived prescribing PrEP as specialty care. Many (39%) indicated that they felt uncomfortable discussing their sexual behaviors with their PCP. Patients with an HIV-positive sex partner in the last 3 months were less likely to ask for PrEP from their PCPs than others (Adjusted Odds Ratio: 0.07; 95% CI: 0.01-0.53). Eighty-three percent of patients were referred to a new PCP with whom they could feel more comfortable discussing PrEP. Conclusions: During initial PrEP implementation, ID specialists can play an important role in providing education and linking PrEP patients to PCPs. However, PCPs may need additional training about PrEP and how to provide culturally sensitive sexual healthcare, if widespread scale-up is to be effective in decreasing HIV incidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-256
Number of pages7
JournalLGBT Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • HIV prevention
  • healthcare providers
  • implementation
  • pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • primary care


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