The 23rd International AIDS Conference – also known this year as AIDS 2020: Virtual – is underway this week, as researchers, physicians, and advocates around the globe log in for the world’s largest virtual conference on HIV. The Fenway Institute is pleased to announce that Douglas Krakower, MD, Adjunct Faculty Member at The Fenway Institute and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, presented during Monday’s programming.
Dr. Krakower shared “Impact of COVID-19 on HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Care at a Boston Community Health Center,” which looked at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected PrEP usage and adherence among Fenway Health patients.
Data from Fenway Health electronic health records found that during March and April of 2020, patient lapses in refilling PrEP prescriptions rose by 191%. At the same time, the number of patients starting PrEP usage fell by 72.1%. The total number of patients with an active PrEP prescription also decreased by 18.3%, while HIV tests decreased by 85.1%.
“We used electronic health records data from Fenway Health to assess changes in PrEP-related care from January through April 2020, which includes the two months before and after the onset of COVID-19 in Boston, Massachusetts,” said Krakower. “We found major disruptions in PrEP prescriptions during COVID-19 despite a successful pivot towards telehealth, as well as dramatic decreases in rates of testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Further studies are needed to understand whether or not these major changes in PrEP-related care are having an impact on prevention-effective adherence to PrEP.”