Background Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) provides protection to sexually active persons at risk of acquiring HIV. Eligible female sex workers (FSWs) are a key population in which oral PrEP is indicated. The aim of this study was to evaluate knowledge levels of oral PrEP and the likelihood of its use among FSWs.
Methods A cross-sectional study in HIV uninfected FSWs was conducted. Interviews assessing awareness and intention to use PrEP were conducted initially. A description of PrEP as an HIV prevention strategy would be given after assessing awareness. Relative importance index was used to assess levels of knowledge, likelihood and barriers to PrEP use. A bivariate logistic regression model was utilized to identify predictors of PrEP use.
Results One hundred and thirty-one FSWs with a median age of 25 years (IQR: 21 – 31) participated. Most participants were single (78%), 10% being married, and 11% being either divorced or widowed. FSWs reported a median 5 (IQR: 3 - 6) daily sexual partners. Fifty-three (40%) participants reported having at least one encounter of unprotected casual sexual intercourse within the preceding three months. Only 71 (54%) participants had ever heard about PrEP. Of the FSWs that had heard about PrEP, 46 (35%) had adequate knowledge on its use. A total of 102 (78%) of the participants revealed that they would be willing to always use oral PrEP if it was provided to them for free. Likelihood of PrEP use increased among participants who had unprotected sex in the last 3 months (r = 0.0448, p = 0.026). Participants that were more knowledge about PrEP had an increased likelihood for PrEP use (r = 0.21, p = 0.0153).
Conclusion Knowledge of PrEP among FSWs in Zimbabwe was low. To increase uptake of PrEP as an HIV prevention strategy there will be need to further sensitize FSWs on this intervention.
Disclosure No significant relationships.
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