Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original article
Does HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis use lead to a higher incidence of sexually transmitted infections? A case-crossover study of men who have sex with men in Los Angeles, California
  1. Matthew R Beymer1,2,
  2. Michelle A DeVost2,
  3. Robert E Weiss3,
  4. Rhodri Dierst-Davies4,
  5. Chelsea L Shover2,
  6. Raphael J Landovitz1,5,
  7. Corinne Beniasians2,
  8. Ali J Talan2,
  9. Risa P Flynn2,
  10. Robyn Krysiak2,
  11. Kayla McLaughlin2,
  12. Robert K Bolan2
  1. 1 David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  2. 2 Health and Mental Health Services, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
  3. 3 Department of Biostatistics, Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  4. 4 Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, New York, New York, USA
  5. 5 Center for Clinical AIDS Research and Education (CARE), Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Matthew R Beymer, Los Angeles LGBT Center, Los Angeles, CA 90028–6213, USA; mbeymer{at}


Background Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an effective method for reducing HIV incidence among at-risk populations. However, concerns exist over the potential for an increase in STIs following PrEP initiation. The objective of this study is to compare the STI incidence before and after PrEP initiation within subjects among a cohort of men who have sex with men in Los Angeles, California.

Methods The present study used data from patients who initiated PrEP services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center between October 2015 and October 2016 (n=275). A generalised linear mixed model was used with a case-crossover design to determine if there was a significant difference in STIs within subjects 365 days before (before-PrEP period) and 365 days after PrEP initiation (after-PrEP period).

Results In a generalised linear mixed model, there were no significant differences in urethral gonorrhoea (P=0.95), rectal gonorrhoea (P=0.33), pharyngeal gonorrhoea (P=0.65) or urethral chlamydia (P=0.71) between periods. There were modest increases in rectal chlamydia (rate ratio (RR) 1.83; 95% CI 1.13 to 2.98; P=0.01) and syphilis diagnoses (RR 2.97; 95% CI 1.23 to 7.18; P=0.02).

Conclusions There were significant increases in rectal chlamydia and syphilis diagnoses when comparing the periods directly before and after PrEP initiation. However, only 28% of individuals had an increase in STIs between periods. Although risk compensation appears to be present for a segment of PrEP users, the majority of individuals either maintain or decrease their sexual risk following PrEP initiation.

  • sexual health
  • gay men
  • prophylaxis
  • syphilis
  • chlamydia infection

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Handling editor Catherine H Mercer

  • Contributors MRB: study concept, data cleaning, design, analysis, writing and revisions. MADV: study concept, data cleaning, design, analysis and manuscript review. REW: study concept, design, analysis and manuscript review. RDD, CLS, RJL, CB: study concept and manuscript review. AJT, RPF, RK, KM: manuscript review. RKB: study concept, design, writing and manuscript review.

  • Funding MRB was supported by the UCLA Postdoctoral Fellowship Training Program in Global HIV Prevention Research (Currier and Gorbach, PIs); T32MH080634. REW was supported by the Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment (CHIPTS) NIMH grant P30MH058107; the UCLA Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) grant 5P30AI028697, Core H.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The study received approval from the University of California, Los Angeles South General Institutional Review Board (SGIRB) (IRB number: 00004474; Project number: 16-000452) .

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles