Introduction BASHH guidance recommends proactively educating HIV-infected patients regarding the availability of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Existing evidence suggests PEP awareness is low amongst HIV-infected cohorts, particularly amongst heterosexuals, older patients and those with long-standing HIV diagnoses. We reviewed our educational provision by assessing current awareness in our cohort.
Aims To establish current PEP knowledge, and patient factors influencing that knowledge.
Methods All HIV outpatients were prospectively assessed via questionnaire between 3/7/14–3/1/15. Following data collation PEP aware and PEP unaware patients were compared using chi-squared and Mann-Whitney testing with significance defined as p < 0.05.
Results 155 patients responded, 148 were Caucasian; 118 identified as men who have sex with men. 117 (75.5%) were PEP aware of which 108 knew how to access PEP if required. 109 (70.3%) had an undetectable HIV viral load (<20 copies/mL). Attaining an undetectable viral load did not significantly affect awareness (83/117 v 26/38, p = 0.768). Patients who were currently sexually active were not significantly more aware (77/117 v 19/38, p = 0.082) but those reporting contact with HIV-negative partners were (50/117 v 7/38, p = 0.007). Median time since diagnosis was significantly less in those aware of PEP (7.88 years v 11.33 years, p = 0.006). Age, gender and ethnicity did not significantly affect awareness.
Conclusion PEP awareness was prevalent and distributed evenly across all demographics. Awareness was significantly higher in those reporting HIV-negative partners, a group in which PEP awareness is especially important. Patients with long-standing diagnoses were shown to have poorer awareness and should be a target group for PEP education.