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Understanding early uptake of PrEP by female sex workers in Zimbabwe

Busza, Joanna, Phillips, Andrew N, Mushati, Phillis, Chiyaka, Tarisai, Magutshwa, Sitholubuhle, Musemburi, Sithembile and Cowan, Frances ORCID: (2021) 'Understanding early uptake of PrEP by female sex workers in Zimbabwe'. AIDS Care, Vol 33, Issue 6, pp. 729-735.

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Female sex workers (FSW) are prioritised for increased access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), although rates of uptake remain sub-optimal, particularly across Southern Africa. In the first two years of its availability in Zimbabwe, 37.1% of FSW in trial sites initiated PrEP and received at least one re-supply. We conducted a qualitative study on perceptions of PrEP among 19 early users selected from sites with varying rates of PrEP initiation. Narrative interviews examined the pathways taken by FSW from hearing about PrEP, through their decision to start taking it, and early experiences. FSW appreciated PrEP’s introduction within familiar and trusted “friendly” services tailored for sex workers and valued positive encouragement from clinic staff and peers over negative influence from family members. They also found PrEP difficult to understand at first, and feared side effects and rare adverse complications described in information leaflets. While FSW identified individual strategies for remembering to take their medication, they also relied on structured peer adherence support, leading some FSW to actively promote the method to other FSW as “PrEP champions”. Information on how early users experience a new prevention technology such as PrEP can inform design of interventions that leverage existing support structures and target key barriers.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 309 Women's health
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WC Communicable Diseases > Sexually Transmitted Diseases > WC 140 Sexually transmitted diseases
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV Infections > WC 503.6 Prevention and control
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2020 14:49
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2021 01:02


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