To optimize scale-up of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for pregnant women at risk of HIV in high HIV burden settings, implementation strategies must be developed that account for perceptions of PrEP in this unique population. Semistructured focus group discussions were conducted with 68 HIV-uninfected Kenyan pregnant and postpartum women without prior PrEP knowledge or experience. A qualitative descriptive analysis was performed, using a constant comparison approach, to identify key themes related to the values and rationale impacting potential PrEP use in pregnancy. Median age was 19.5 years and participants were either pregnant or had 1-2 children. Almost all (96%) were married or had a steady partner. Women felt pregnancy was a time of high HIV risk because they desired sex less frequently, which may lead their partners to have outside partnerships. This made PrEP an attractive HIV prevention option for themselves and their infants. Although women believed male partner behaviors influenced their HIV risk, many women perceived that male partners would react negatively, including becoming physically violent, if they discovered that women used PrEP. Clinicians were identified as potential facilitators of PrEP use who could explain PrEP to male partners on behalf of pregnant women. Women said that community-level stigma against HIV and potential for conflating PrEP with antiretroviral therapy (ART) would necessitate that PrEP use be discreet. Our results indicate the importance of addressing risk perception of women, concerns of male partners, HIV stigma, and benefits of PrEP for HIV prevention as programs are developed for pregnant women.
- prevention of mother to child transmission/vertical transmission
- prevention of sexual transmission
- qualitative data
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases