Uptake and retention on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis among key and priority populations in South-Central Uganda

Joseph Kagaayi, James Batte, Hadijja Nakawooya, Boniface Kigozi, Gertrude Nakigozi, Susanne Strömdahl, Anna Mia Ekström, Larry W. Chang, Ron Gray, Steven J. Reynolds, Patrick Komaketch, Stella Alamo, David Serwadda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) programmes have been initiated in sub-Saharan Africa to prevent HIV acquisition in key populations at increased risk. However, data on PrEP uptake and retention in high-risk African communities are limited. We evaluated PrEP uptake and retention in HIV hyperendemic fishing villages and trading centres in south-central Uganda between April 2018 and March 2019. Methods: PrEP eligibility was assessed using a national risk screening tool. Programme data were used to evaluate uptake and retention over 12 months. Multivariable modified Poisson regression estimated adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) and 95% Confidence intervals (CIs) of uptake associated with covariates. We used Kaplan–Meier analysis to estimate retention and multivariable Cox regression to estimate adjusted relative hazards (aRH) and 95% CIs of discontinuation associated with covariates. Results and discussion: Of the 2985 HIV-negative individuals screened; 2750 (92.1 %) were eligible; of whom 2,536 (92.2%) accepted PrEP. Male (aPR = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.85 to 0.97) and female (aPR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.77 to 0.94) fisher folk were less likely to accept compared to HIV-discordant couples. Median retention was 45.4 days for both men and women, whereas retention was higher among women (log rank, p < 0.001) overall. PrEP discontinuation was higher among female sex workers (aRH = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.09 to 1.83) and female fisher folk (aRH = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.46 to 2.72), compared to women in discordant couples. Male fisher folk (aRH = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.07 to 1.76) and male truck drivers (aRH = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.14 to 1.94) were more likely to discontinue compared to men in discordant couples. Women 30 to 34 years tended to have lower discontinuation rates compared to adolescents 15 to 19 years (RH = 0.78 [95% CI = 0.63 to 0.96]). Conclusions: PrEP uptake was high, but retention was very low especially among those at the highest risk of HIV: fisher folk, sex workers and truck drivers and adolescent girls. Research on reasons for PrEP discontinuation could help optimize retention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere25588
JournalJournal of the International AIDS Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • HIV prevention
  • LMIC
  • PrEP
  • retention
  • risk factors
  • sex workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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