Low uptake of PrEP among black women in the UK: new study examines causes.


  • Jo Whelan
  • Medical News
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Uptake of PrEP in Black African and Black Caribbean women in the UK remains low, despite a need for HIV prevention in this group.

Black African and Black Caribbean women in the UK remain disproportionately affected by HIV. Black/Black British populations make up 42.1% of new HIV diagnoses among heterosexual adults despite comprising only 3.0% of the population. Rates of new diagnoses in black and minority ethnic women have seen little change, whereas diagnoses in other groups (e.g. men who have sex with men) have fallen.

Knowledge of PrEP in this group is low, a new study has found, and many women feel that PrEP is not for them.

  • Many found it difficult to assess whether their level of risk was high enough to warrant preventive measures.
  • Community stigma around HIV extended to stigmatising HIV risk.
  • The authors conclude that “Difficulty situating PrEP within existing safer sex beliefs contributes to limited perceptions of personal PrEP candidacy.”
  • To increase uptake, interventions are needed from trusted community services that are not specifically associated with sexual health, such as General Practice. However, increasing uptake will be challenging.

The study conducted in-depth interviews with 32 Black African/Black Caribbean women living in London and Glasgow. HIV status varied. The aim was to explore how perceptions of PrEP intersected with wider understandings and practices around safer sex.