PrEP Awareness and Acceptability among Women Involved in the Criminal Justice System

Award amount: 40,000.00

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has demonstrated effectiveness for daily use to prevent HIV-infection. Despite PrEP being a promising approach for preventing HIV acquisition, the bulk of the empirical literature has focused on men who have sex with men and heterosexual women in sub-Saharan Africa. Women at high-risk of HIV infection in the United States (US) are largely absent from this body of literature. The purpose of this exploratory study is to examine PrEP acceptability among a sample of women at particularly high-risk for HIV in the US: women involved in the criminal justice (CJ) system. The proposed exploratory study, guided by the Health Belief Model and the Social Ecological Model, has two specific aims: Aim 1: Understand knowledge and attitudes related to PrEP use among women on probation; Aim 2: Determine structural-level factors that hinder or enable PrEP implementation for women on probation. Qualitative methods will be used in both phases of the proposed study to conduct one-on-one semi-structured interviews with women on probation (n=20) and CJ staff (n=10). Qualitative methods are best suited to address Aims 1 and 2 because these methods are particularly useful for understanding contextual influences and also for discovery, both of which are important for emerging research on biomedical HIV prevention tools. The proposed research study is designed to expand my capacities as an independent researcher examining health disparities in HIV among vulnerable groups, with a particular focus on CJ-involved populations. The research and training activities provide an opportunity to gain a better understanding of emerging biomedical HIV-prevention interventions (i.e., PrEP), receive training related to implementation science, and develop community and inter-institutional partnerships. The results from this proposed study will provide the necessary foundation for a future R01 implementation science research application piloting PrEP initiation among women on probation.