HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for Conception among HIV Serodiscordant Couples in the United States: A Cohort Study

Ashley A. Leech, Dea Biancarelli, Erika Aaron, Emily S. Miller, Jenell S. Coleman, Peter L. Anderson, Hervette Nkwihoreze, Brianne Condron, Meg Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Practice guidelines on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV serodiscordant couples recommend PrEP when the viral load of the partner living with HIV is either detectable or unknown. However, adherence to combination antiretroviral therapy is inconsistent, and research has found that individuals vulnerable to HIV place value on additional protective barriers. We conducted a prospective cohort study to assess the feasibility, perceptions, and adherence associated with periconceptional PrEP use among females without HIV and their male partners living with HIV across four academic medical centers in the United States. We performed descriptive statistics, McNemar's test of marginal homogeneity to assess discordance in female/male survey responses, and Spearman's correlation to determine associations between dried blood spot levels and female self-reported adherence to PrEP. We enrolled 25 women without HIV and 24 men living with HIV (one male partner did not consent to the study). Women took PrEP for a median of 10.9 months (interquartile range 3.8-12.0) and were generally adherent. In total, 87% of women (20/23) had a dried blood spot with >700 fmol/punch or ≥4 doses/week, 4% (1/23) at 350-699 fmol/punch or 2-3 doses/week, and 9% (2/23) at <350 fmol/punch or <2 doses/week (correlation between drug levels and adherence is based on prior data). Dried blood spot levels closely aligned with self-reported adherence (Spearman's rho = 0.64, p = 0.001). There were 10 pregnancies among 8 participants, 4 of which resulted in spontaneous abortions. There was one preterm delivery (36 5/7 weeks), no congenital abnormalities, and no HIV transmissions. Ten couples (40%) were either lost to follow-up or ended the study early. Overall, women attempting conception with male partners living with HIV in the United States are interested and able to adhere to PrEP as an additional tool for safer conception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-302
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS patient care and STDs
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • HIV
  • PrEP
  • conception
  • serodifferent
  • serodiscordant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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