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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2019 Jun 17. doi: 10.1089/apc.2019.0056. [Epub ahead of print]

Using HIV Risk Prediction Tools to Identify Candidates for Pre-exposure Prophylaxis: Perspectives from Patients and Primary Care Providers.

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1 Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
2 Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
3 Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.
4 The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
5 University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut.
6 Division of Infectious Diseases, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.
7 Department of Epidemiology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.


Clinical guidelines for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) include risk prediction tools to identify appropriate candidates. We conducted a qualitative interview study to explore the potential acceptability, interpretation, and anticipated impact of such tools from the perspectives of men who have sex with men (MSM) and primary care providers (PCPs). Our purposive sample of English-speaking participants included: (1) MSM reporting HIV risk behaviors (n = 32; median age = 38 years; 53% non-Hispanic white; 22% high school degree or less education); (2) PCPs specializing in health care for MSM (n = 12); and (3) PCPs in general practice (n = 19). MSM participants questioned the ability of risk tools to predict HIV acquisition, and their perceptions of what might constitute a high HIV risk score varied widely. Many MSM participants believed that receiving a high score would prompt them to consider PrEP or other risk reduction strategies. Some believed that the data would be useful, particularly if discussed with their providers, whereas others anticipated feeling fear, anxiety, or mistrust. PCPs expressed more confidence in HIV risk prediction and imagined integrating tools with medical histories and their clinical judgment to assess risk. PCPs were most enthusiastic about adopting HIV risk prediction as a teaching tool to help patients visualize and reduce risk, their concerns about time constraints notwithstanding. In conclusion, our findings suggest that PCPs' views of HIV risk prediction tools are generally positive, whereas MSM participants' are more mixed. Given that both groups emphasized the value of contextualizing risk, shared decision making may be needed to implement HIV risk prediction tools effectively.


HIV/AIDS; decision making; prevention; primary care; risk communication


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