Willingness to use pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention among female sex workers: a cross-sectional study in China
Bin Peng,1,2 Xiaowei Yang,2 Yan Zhang,1 Jianghong Dai,3 Hao Liang,4 Yunfeng Zou,4 Jinkun Luo,5 Hongbin Peng,5 Xiaoni Zhong,1 Ailong Huang6
1School of Public Health, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China; 2Division of Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA; 3School of Public Health, Xinjiang Medical University, Xinjiang, China; 4School of Public Health, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, China; 5Shunqing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Nanchong, Sichuan, China; 6Virus Hepatitis Research Institute of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China
Background: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a strategy developed to prevent individuals who are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative from developing HIV infection. In China, while conducting a clinical trial to investigate the effectiveness and safety of PrEP, we performed this survey to assess the willingness of female sex workers to use PrEP, and identify predictors of this willingness.
Methods: From July 2009 to April 2010, a cross-sectional study was carried out in four provinces of China. We recruited 1611 female sex workers who completed a self-administered survey to assess their awareness of and intention to use PrEP. The survey also canvassed demographic, behavioral, and psychosocial variables. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression models were fitted to identify predictors of intent to use PrEP.
Results: In total, 69% of the women (95% confidence interval [CI] 66.7–71.3) reported intent to use PrEP, and 12% (95% CI 10.5–13.7) had used drugs in the past to prevent a sexually transmitted infection. Further, 16.5% (95% CI 14.7–18.4) had previously heard of PrEP, and 1.4% (95% CI 0.9–2.1) had used PrEP previously to prevent HIV infection. Multivariate analysis indicated the following significant predictors of intent to use PrEP: Han ethnicity (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.446; P = 0.011), urban residence (AOR 1.302; P = 0.027), knowledge about transmission of HIV/acquired immune deficiency virus syndrome (AIDS, AOR 1.817; P = 0.0007), a history of sexually transmitted infection (AOR 1.830; P < 0.0001), a history of using medication to prevent a sexually transmitted disease (AOR 2.547; P < 0.0001), and willingness to access knowledge about HIV/AIDS (AOR 2.153; P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: The majority of female sex workers reported intent to use PrEP if it is safe and effective. Given that most of the participants had never heard of PrEP before, we strongly recommend that educational materials be developed with detailed introduction of PrEP. The risks and benefits of PrEP use should be fully explained to potential users when promoting PrEP in the future.
Keywords: human immunodeficiency virus, infection, pre-exposure prophylaxis, PrEP, willingness, female sex workers
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