Paying for PrEP
A Qualitative Study of Cost Factors That Impact Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Uptake in the US
Published in: International Journal of STD & AIDS (2022). doi: 10.1177/09564624221132406
Posted on RAND.org on November 11, 2022
Concerns about the actual and perceived costs of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) continue to be a major barrier to uptake among gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (GBMSM) in the United States.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with 25 GBMSM who presented for routine health care at a STD clinic in the northeastern United States. The cohort included GBMSM who were or were not currently taking PrEP and represented varied health care coverage and financial resources. We used a structured coding scheme to analyze transcripts and identify themes relevant to cost factors.
Participants shared their perspectives about PrEP and their experiences with accessing and paying for PrEP. Our findings suggest that health care coverage or financial assistance were essential to PrEP access but were not easily accessible to all people and did not always cover all costs. Therefore, paying for PrEP had to be balanced with other life expenses. Participants had multiple sources for information about PrEP cost and assistance from clinic and pharmacy staff helped reduce burden and resolve difficulties.
Addressing gaps in health care coverage, providing financial support, and improving the enrollment process in a financial assistance program may improve PrEP uptake.