Background: There are concerns that the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) may result in an increased incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Evidence for this is mixed and has mostly been based on reviews focussed on gay and bisexual men and transgender women, while none have summarised evidence in cisgender women. Methods: We conducted a systematic review to explore whether daily, oral PrEP use is associated with changes in bacterial STI occurrence (diagnoses or self-reported) and/or risk among HIV seronegative cisgender women (ciswomen). The quality of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) tool. Results: We included 11 full text articles in a narrative synthesis, with the studies published between 2012 and 2021. The studies were mostly based in Africa (n=7, 63.6%) and reported on 3168 ciswomen using PrEP aged 16-56 years. Studies had marked differences in variables, including measurements and definitions (e.g., STI type) and limited data available looking specifically at ciswomen, principally in studies with both male and female participants. The limited evidence suggests that PrEP use is not associated with increased STI rates in ciswomen generally; however, adolescent girls and young women in Sub Saharan Africa have a higher prevalence of bacterial STIs prior to PrEP initiation, compared to adult ciswomen and female sex workers. Conclusions: We suggest future PrEP research make efforts to include ciswomen as study participants and report stratified results by gender identity to provide adequate data to inform guidelines for PrEP implementation.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 Papageorgiou V et al.
- Bacterial sexually transmitted infections
- HIV prevention
- Health risk behaviors
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis
- Systematic review
- Women's health