HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is effective but underutilized in the United States. The emergency department offers an opportunity to access at-risk individuals for PrEP referral. While several studies have described provider awareness and acceptance of PrEP, these studies have focused largely on infectious diseases, HIV, and primary care specialty physicians. Thus, PrEP awareness, knowledge, and concerns among emergency physicians remain unknown. We sought to determine provider comfort in discussing PrEP with patients among emergency physicians in Missouri.
We conducted an online survey among 88 emergency physicians at Washington University in St. Louis from February 2017 to March 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. The survey included demographics, comfort discussing PrEP, having ever heard of PrEP (awareness), knowledge of the current CDC prescribing guidelines, concerns with use, and knowing local PrEP referral information. The questions were asked on a Likert scale and dichotomously categorized. We evaluated predictors of physician comfort of discussing PrEP with patients using multiple logistic regression.
Sixty-seven participants completed the survey; 64.1% were faculty. Most (79.1%) were PrEP aware, however, only 23.9% were knowledgeable of current guidelines and 22.7% of referral information. Concerns included lack of efficacy (53.7%), side effects (89.6%), and the selection for HIV resistance (70.1%). Comfort discussing PrEP was 43.3%. When adjusting for the concern of efficacy, having PrEP knowledge (OR: 5.43; CI: 1.19-30.81) and having referral knowledge (OR: 7.82; CI: 1.93-40.98) were significantly associated with comfort in discussing PrEP.
We found moderate PrEP awareness among emergency physicians, but also high levels of discomfort in discussing PrEP with their patients. Future provider training should include addressing misinformation surrounding the concerns with PrEP use and prescribing, reviewing current guidelines, and providing local referral resources for PrEP patient care. Emergency department settings can facilitate PrEP awareness and referral to care among at-risk patients to help reduce national HIV incidence.
W. G. Powderly, None
R. Patel, None