Evaluating the impact of PrEP on HIV and gonorrhea on a networked population of female sex workers

Abstract

Sexual contacts are the main spreading route of HIV. This puts sex workers at higher risk of infection even in populations where HIV prevalence is moderate or low. Alongside condom use,Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is an effective tool for sex workers to reduce their risk of HIVacquisition. However, PrEP provides no direct protection against sexually transmitted infections(STIs) other than HIV, unlike condoms. We use an empirical network of sexual contacts amongfemale sex workers (FSWs) and clients to simulate the spread of HIV and gonorrhea. We theninvestigate the effect of PrEP adoption and adherence, on both HIV and gonorrhea prevalence. Wealso study the effect of a potential increase in condomless acts due to lowered risk perception withrespect of the no-PrEP scenario (risk compensation). We find that when HIV is the only diseasecirculating, PrEP is effective in reducing HIV prevalence, even with high risk compensation. Instead,the complex interplay between the two diseases shows that different levels of risk compensationrequire different intervention strategies. Finally, we find that providing PrEP only to the most activeFSWs is less effective than uniform PrEP adoption. Our work shows that the effects emerging fromthe complex interactions between these diseases and the available prophylactic measures need to beaccounted for, to devise effective intervention strategies

Publication
Evaluating the impact of PrEP on HIV and gonorrhea on a networked population of female sex workers