Adolescent girls and young women's experiences with disclosing oral PrEP or Dapivirine Vaginal Ring use: a multi-country qualitative analysis


Effective use of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been low among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in Eastern and Southern Africa, partly due to stigma and opposition from key influencers. Understanding AGYW's experiences of disclosure of different PrEP modalities to key influencers may inform strategies to motivate uptake and adherence. We analyzed qualitative in-depth interviews and focus group discussions data from 119 participants in the MTN-034/REACH (Reversing the Epidemic in Africa with Choices in HIV Prevention) study of oral PrEP and the dapivirine vaginal ring (ring) to explore AGYW's disclosure experiences. We found that AGYW disclosure experiences varied across influencers and product type. The ring was disclosed less often to most influencers, except partners, because it was discreet. Oral PrEP was disclosed more often, because pills were more common and to avoid HIV stigma given that oral PrEP resembled HIV treatment. Ultimately, disclosure typically led most key influencers to support product use through reminders and encouragement. While disclosure yielded positive support from influencers, further community awareness of both PrEP products is essential to reduce potential opposition and perceived stigma.Clinical Trial Number: NCT03593655.