To investigate perceptions and attitude to prescribe Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) among HIV specialists.
A questionnaire developed through a Focus Group and literature review was administered to a convenience sample of HIV specialists during educational courses in two Regions and an online survey in February-May 2012. Participants were classified as having a positive or negative attitude according to their willingness to prescribe PrEP. Demographic and working information, experience with HIV-infected patients, information and provision of antiretrovirals to uninfected persons, self-reported knowledge, perceptions and concerns regarding PrEP were assessed. The association between a different attitude towards PrEP prescription and selected characteristics was assessed through univariate and multivariate regression analysis.
Of 311 specialists, 70% would prescribe PrEP, mainly to serodiscordant partners (64%) but also to people at ongoing, high risk of HIV infection (56%); 66% advocated public support of costs. A negative attitude towards PrEP was significantly associated with lack of provision of information on, and prescription of, antiretroviral post-exposure prophylaxis; specialists with a negative attitude believed behavioural interventions to be more effective than PrEP and were more concerned about toxicity. Overall, 90% of specialists disagreed regarding a lack of time for engaging in prevention counselling and PrEP monitoring; 79% would welcome formal guidelines, while those with a negative attitude did not consider this advisable.