Barriers and facilitators to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis for cisgender and transgender women in the UK


Uptake of oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among cisgender and transgender women in the UK has been low. In this Review, we explore the barriers and facilitators to PrEP access for these groups, with a focus on health equity. We included 20 studies, including seven abstracts presented at conferences. The study samples were disparate, with minimal overlap between papers. We identified barriers at the individual, interpersonal, and structural levels, including poor awareness and acceptability; stigma, race, and ethnicity; restricted access to PrEP; and exclusion from clinical trials. We found hidden subpopulations of women who could potentially benefit from PrEP, of whom little is known about their PrEP knowledge, preferences, and access due to a lack of UK research. These subpopulations include non-Black African women, transgender women, sex workers, migrant women, women experiencing intimate partner violence, incarcerated women, and women who inject drugs. We highlight opportunities to address these obstacles. Research on the use of PrEP by women in the UK is scarce, and existing research has poor granularity. Without a better understanding of the needs and preferences of the full spectrum of women who could benefit from PrEP, the UK will not reach zero transmissions by 2030.


Whelan I, Strachan S, Apea V, Orkin C, Paparini S




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Education
    • Health services
    • Stigma/discrimination
  • Population(s)
    • Women
    • Transgender communities
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Prevention
  • Prevention
    • Biomedical interventions


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