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ObjectiveTo assess frequency and predictors of switching between being on and off PrEP and being lost to follow-up (LTFU) among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW) with access to PrEP services in Sub-Saharan Africa.MethodsThis was a prospective cohort study of MSM and TGW from coastal Kenya who initiated daily oral PrEP from June 2017 to June 2019. Participants were followed monthly for HIV-1 testing, PrEP refill, risk assessment and risk reduction counselling. Follow-up was censored at the last visit before 30 June 2019, or the last HIV-1-negative visit (for those with HIV-1 seroconversion), whichever occurred first. We estimated transition intensities (TI) and predictors of switching: (i) between being off and on PrEP; and (ii) from either PrEP state and being LTFU (i.e. not returning to the clinic for > 90 days) using a multi-state Markov model.ResultsIn all, 134 participants starting PrEP were followed for a median of 20.3 months [interquartile range (IQR): 7.7-22.1]. A total of 49 (36.6%) people stopped PrEP 73 times [TI = 0.6/person-year (PY), 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.5-0.7] and, of these, 25 (51.0%) restarted PrEP 38 times (TI = 1.2/PY, 95% CI: 0.9-1.7). In multivariable analysis, stopping PrEP was related to anal sex ≤ 3 months, substance-use disorder and travelling. Restarting PrEP was related to non-Christian or non-Muslim religion and travelling. A total of 54 participants were LTFU: on PrEP (n = 47, TI = 0.3/PY, 95% CI: 0.3-0.5) and off PrEP (n = 7, TI = 0.2/PY, 95% CI: 0.1-0.4). In multivariable analysis, becoming LTFU while on PrEP was associated with secondary education or higher, living in the area for ≤ 1 year, residence outside the immediate clinic area and alcohol-use disorder.ConclusionsSwitching between being on and off PrEP or becoming LTFU while on PrEP was frequent among individuals at risk of HIV-1 acquisition. Alternative PrEP options (e.g. event-driven PrEP) may need to be considered for MSM and TGW with PrEP-taking challenges, while improved engagement with care is needed for all MSM and TGW regardless of PrEP regimen.

Original publication




Journal article


HIV medicine

Publication Date



KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme Centre for Geographic Medicine Research-Coast, Kilifi, Kenya.