Among African-American women at risk for HIV who participated in a recent interview study in Milwaukee, their potential use of Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine) as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was apparently impeded by numerous factors, including a lack of awareness of their HIV risk as well as mistrust of the medical establishment.


Liesl A. Nydegger, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin, and her colleagues conducted a study of 30 Black women deemed at risk for HIV, interviewing them four times over a six-month period.

The women had a median age of 32 and ranged in age between 18 and 57. They were interviewed between July 2016 and April 2017.

By that point in PrEP’s history, the prevention method had taken off in popularity among men who have sex with men in various parts of the country, but, as remains the case today, had failed to gain traction among a substantial number of at-risk women. African-American women are disproportionately impacted by HIV.

Most of the women in the study had never heard of PrEP, and a majority initially expressed interest in taking Truvada for HIV prevention.

The study authors identified various barriers to PrEP uptake among the women, including low perceived HIV risk, medical mistrust, lack of knowledge about PrEP on the part of clinicians, negative reactions from family and friends, a lack of faith in their capacity to adhere to the daily regimen and transportation problems.

“PrEP awareness needs to be promoted among Black women and medical providers,” the study authors concluded. “Future research should address individual risk perception, medical mistrust, increasing social support and decreasing transportation barriers.”

To read the study abstract, click here