Access to HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis in Practice Settings: a Qualitative Study of Sexual and Gender Minority Adults’ Perspectives

Christina J. Sun, Kirsten M. Anderson, David Bangsberg, Kim Toevs, Dayna Morrison, Caitlin Wells, Pete Clark, Christina Nicolaidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations remain at disproportionate risk of HIV infection. Despite the effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in preventing HIV, PrEP uptake has been slow. Objective: To identify barriers and facilitators of PrEP access by examining SGM patients’ experiences with accessing health care systems and engaging with providers about PrEP in a variety of practice settings. Design: Semi-structured, individual, qualitative interviews. Participants: Twenty-seven sexual and gender minority adults residing in Oregon. Approach: Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis. Key Results: We identified three main themes. Participants described the centrality of patient-provider relationships to positive experiences around PrEP, the necessity of personally advocating to access PrEP, and the experience of system-level barriers to PrEP access. Participants also made several suggestions to improve PrEP access including improving provider engagement with SGM patients, encouraging providers to initiate conversations about PrEP, and increasing awareness of medication financial support. Conclusions: In order to reduce HIV disparities, improving PrEP access will require additional efforts by providers and resources across health care settings to reduce barriers. Interventions to improve provider education about PrEP and provider communication skills for discussing sexual health are needed. Additionally, there should be system-level improvements to increase coordination between patients, providers, pharmacies, and payers to facilitate PrEP access and uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-543
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 15 2019


  • doctor-patient relationships
  • patient preferences
  • prevention
  • qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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