Chemsex is not a barrier to self-reported daily PrEP adherence among PROUD study participants.

O'Halloran, Charlotte, Rice, Brian, White, Ellen, Desai, Monica, Dunn, David T, McCormack, Sheena, Sullivan, Ann K, White, David, McOwan, Alan and Gafos, Mitzy (2019) Chemsex is not a barrier to self-reported daily PrEP adherence among PROUD study participants. The International journal on drug policy, 74. pp. 246-254. ISSN 1873-4758.

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Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a novel HIV prevention method whereby HIV-negative individuals take the drugs tenofovir and emtricitabine to prevent HIV acquisition. Optimal adherence is critical for PrEP efficacy. Chemsex describes sexual activity under the influence of psychoactive drugs, in the UK typically; crystal methamphetamine, gamma-hydroxybutyrate(GHB) and/or mephedrone. Chemsex drug use has been associated with increased HIV transmission risk among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBM) and poor ART adherence among people living with HIV. This study assessed whether self-reported chemsex events affected self-reported daily PrEP adherence among PROUD study participants.


The PROUD study was an open-label, randomised controlled trial, conducted in thirteen English sexual health clinics, assessing effectiveness of Truvada-PrEP among 544 HIV-negative GBM. The study reported an 86% risk-reduction of HIV from daily PrEP. Participants were asked about chemsex engagement at follow-up visits. Monthly self-reports of missed PrEP tablets were aggregated to assess adherence between visits. Univariable and multivariable regression analyses were performed to test for associations between chemsex and reporting less than seven out of seven intended doses(<7/7ID) in the 7 days before and/or after last condomless anal intercourse(CAI).


1479 follow-up visit forms and 2260 monthly adherence forms from 388 participants were included in the analyses, with 38.5% visit forms reporting chemsex since last visit and 29.9% follow-up periods reporting <7/7ID. No statistically significant associations were observed between reporting <7/7ID and chemsex (aOR=1.29 [95% CI 0.90-1.87], p = 0.168). Statistically significant associations were seen between reporting <7/7ID and participants perceiving that they would miss PrEP doses during the trial, Asian ethnicity, and reporting unemployment at baseline.


These analyses suggest PrEP remains a feasible and effective HIV prevention method for GBM engaging in chemsex, a practise which is prevalent in this group and has been associated with increased HIV transmission risk.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WC Communicabable diseases
Divisions: Clinical Support > Infectious Diseases
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Mr Philip O'Reilly
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2019 09:45
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2019 09:45

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