One in three African-American MSM who reported that they currently use PrEP was found to be living with HIV, a study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes showed.
Participants -- who were recruited at Black Gay Pride events in the U.S. between 2014 and 2017 -- filled out a questionnaire and were offered on-site HIV testing. Of the 3,512 men who accepted, 32% of current PrEP users turned out to be HIV positive; by comparison, HIV prevalence was found to be 20% among men who reported no current PrEP use.
Inability to afford health care coverage was reported more frequently among PrEP users who tested positive. In addition, among a subset of participants who were asked questions about PrEP access, only 76% reported getting their PrEP from a health care provider; this suggests many PrEP users may not be getting routinely tested for HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and that side effects are not monitored, study authors wrote. They stressed that the relatively high rate of seroconversions was likely due to inadequate adherence rather than medication failure.
"The current findings, in sum, should be interpreted as a call-to-action for public health and medical officials to carefully monitor the rollout and impact of PrEP," they concluded.