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A Qualitative Study of Barriers and Facilitators to Integrating Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) and HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA)

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The syndemic of substance use and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a well-recognized global phenomenon that threatens to undermine the priorities outlined by the National Institutes of Health "Ending the HIV Epidemic" initiative. There are few published studies on preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with opioid use disorder (OUD) despite increasing availability of biomedical prevention options and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to offer PrEP to this group. Healthcare providers who previously prescribed medications for OUD (MOUDs) and/or PrEP for AYA were purposively sampled. Audio-recorded in-depth individual interviews were conducted using chart-stimulated recall to explore barriers and facilitators to integrated MOUD and HIV prevention services. Interviews were double-coded, and qualitative analysis was performed using a modified grounded theory. Of 19 providers sampled, most were physicians (63%). All recommended HIV screening at varying intervals; however, few counseled on (19%) or prescribed (11%) PrEP to patients on MOUD. Barriers to PrEP prescriptions included patient-level (ie, stigma surrounding PrEP use, adherence challenges, and competing social or mental healthcare needs), provider (perception of low risk, lack of training/experience), and system-level factors (including restricted visit types). Facilitators of PrEP prescriptions included patient-initiated requests, electronic health record system reminders, and the availability of consistent support staff (ie, navigators, certified recovery specialists). Our study confirms that discussions about HIV prevention and PrEP prescriptions may be rare for AYA patients receiving MOUD. Further research is needed to develop interventions that increase the integration of PrEP delivery within the context of OUD care among this key AYA population.


Herrera MC, Darien K, Wood SM, Hadlan SE, Metger D, Dowshen N