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Examining the Correlation Between PrEP Use and Black:White Disparities in HIV Incidence in the Ending the HIV Epidemic Priority Jurisdictions

Bunting SR, Hunt B, Boshara A, Jacobs J, Johnson AK, Hazra A, Glick N.

Journal of General Internal Medicine

Introduction: HIV incidence remains high in the U.S. as do disparities in new HIV diagnosis between White and Black populations and access to preventive therapies like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The federal Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative was developed to prioritize resources to 50 jurisdictions with high HIV incidence.

Methods: We conducted secondary analyses of data (2013-2019) from the CDC, Census Bureau, and AIDSVu to evaluate the correlation between PrEP use, HIV incidence, and HIV incidence disparities. We compared the PrEP-to-need ratio (PnR) with the ratio of Black and White HIV incidence rates in 46 EHE counties. Subsequent analyses were performed for the seven states that contained multiple EHE counties.

Results: These 46 counties represented 25.9% of the U.S. population in 2019. HIV incidence ranged from 10.5 in Sacramento County, CA, to 59.6 in Fulton County, GA (per 100,000). HIV incidence disparity ranged from 1.5 in Orleans Parish, LA, to 12.1 in Montgomery County, MD. PnR ranged from 26.8 in New York County, NY, to 1.46 in Shelby County, TN. Change in HIV incidence disparities and percent change in PnR were not significantly correlated (ρ = 0.06, p = 0.69). Change in overall HIV incidence was significantly correlated with increase in PnR (ρ = -0.42, p = 0.004).

Conclusions: PrEP has the potential to significantly decrease HIV incidence; however, this benefit has not been conferred equally. Within EHE priority counties, we found significant HIV incidence disparities between White and Black populations. PrEP has decreased overall HIV incidence, but does not appear to have decreased HIV incidence disparity.

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