High Rates of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Eligibility and Associated HIV Incidence in a Population With a Generalized HIV Epidemic in Rakai, Uganda

Ssempijja V, Nakigozi G, Ssekubugu R, Kagaayi J, Kigozi G, Nalugoda F, Nantume B, Batte J, Kigozi G, Yeh PT, Nakawooya H, Serwadda D, Quinn TC, Gray RH, Wawer MJ, Grabowski KM, Chang LW, Van't Hoog A, Cobelens F, Reynolds SJ


The utility of using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) eligibility assessments to identify eligibility in general populations has not been well studied in sub-Saharan Africa. We used the Rakai Community Cohort Study to conduct a cross-sectional analysis to estimate PrEP eligibility and a cohort analysis to estimate HIV incidence associated with PrEP eligibility.


Based on Uganda's national PrEP eligibility tool, we defined eligibility as reporting at least one of the following HIV risks in the past 12 months: sexual intercourse with more than one partner of unknown HIV status; nonmarital sex act without a condom; sex engagement in exchange for money, goods, or services; or experiencing genital ulcers. We used log-binomial and modified Poisson models to estimate prevalence ratios for PrEP eligibility and HIV incidence, respectively.


We identified 12,764 participants among whom to estimate PrEP eligibility prevalence and 11,363 participants with 17,381 follow-up visits and 30,721 person-years (pys) of observation to estimate HIV incidence. Overall, 29% met at least one of the eligibility criteria. HIV incidence was significantly higher in PrEP-eligible versus non-PrEP-eligible participants (0.91/100 pys versus 0.41/100 pys; P < 0.001) and independently higher in PrEP-eligible versus non-PrEP-eligible female participants (1.18/100 pys versus 0.50/100 pys; P < 0.001). Among uncircumcised male participants, HIV incidence was significantly higher in PrEP-eligible versus non-PrEP-eligible participants (1.07/100 pys versus 0.27/100 pys; P = 0.001), but there was no significant difference for circumcised male participants.


Implementing PrEP as a standard HIV prevention tool in generalized HIV epidemics beyond currently recognized high-risk key populations could further reduce HIV acquisition and aid epidemic control efforts.