Improving Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Delivery for Young Women in Kenya

Valentine Wanga | 2020

Advisor: Jared Baeten

Research Area(s): Global Health, Infectious Diseases


The rollout of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention to priority populations, including young women, is expanding in sub-Saharan Africa. However, existing barriers to PrEP rollout at the individual, community and policy levels could slow progress and impede the success of PrEP implementation programs. In order to achieve success in HIV prevention, it is crucial to address these barriers, particularly among young women, a population especially vulnerable to HIV. In this dissertation, we evaluated the links among risk perception, sexual behavior and PrEP adherence in serodiscordant couples, evaluated the impact of incorporating HIVST in PrEP delivery for young women and assessed the cost of delivering PrEP to young women. In Aim 1, we used data from HIV-negative adults enrolled in a study of PrEP and antiretroviral therapy for HIV-serodiscordant couples in Kenya and Uganda to examine associations between: 1) condom use and risk perception and 2) risk perception and PrEP adherence. In Aim 2, we offered HIV self-testing (HIVST) to young women enrolled in a PrEP implementation study in two family planning clinics and assessed satisfaction with HIV testing and clinic experience, and the impact of HIVST on PrEP delivery procedures. In Aim 3, using the same population as that in Aim 2, we used micro-costing methods to estimate the incremental cost of delivering PrEP to young women. We found that sexual behavior aligned with perceived HIV risk, which can facilitate an HIV-negative individual’s decisions about PrEP use. Additionally, we found HIVST to be feasible and acceptable for young women using PrEP, highlighting the need to evaluate its utility to streamline PrEP delivery and provide more testing options for young women on PrEP. Lastly, using practical data from PrEP implementation, we estimated the cost of delivering PrEP to young women, providing valuable data to inform budget impact and cost-effectiveness analyses as well as local resource allocation for scale-up of PrEP delivery to young women. Collectively, these studies addressed some of the barriers to PrEP delivery, proposed solutions to these barriers and drew attention to priority research needs for PrEP delivery to young women.