Sustaining PrEP Prescriptions at a Safety-Net Hospital in New York City During COVID-19: Lessons Learned

Robert A. Pitts, Kaoon Ban, Richard E. Greene, Farzana Kapadia, R. Scott Braithwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To understand the impact of COVID-19-related disruptions on PrEP services, we reviewed PrEP prescriptions at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue from July 2019 through July 2021. PrEP prescriptions were examined as PrEP person-equivalents (PrEP PE) in order to account for the variable time of refill duration (i.e., 1–3 months). To assess “PrEP coverage”, we calculated PrEP medication possession ratios (MPR) while patients were under study observation. Pre-clinic closure, mean PrEP PE = 244.2 (IQR 189.2, 287.5; median = 252.5) were observed. Across levels of clinic closures, mean PrEP PE = 247.3, (IQR 215.5, 265.4; median = 219.9) during 100% clinic closure, 255.4 (IQR 224, 284.3; median = 249.0) during 80% closure, and 274.6 (IQR 273.0, 281.0; median = 277.2) during 50% closure were observed. Among patients continuously prescribed PrEP pre-COVID-19, the mean MPR mean declined from 83% (IQR 72–100%; median = 100%) to 63% (IQR 35–97%; median = 66%) after the onset of COVID-19. For patients newly initiated on PrEP after the onset of COVID-19, the mean MPR was 73% (IQR 41–100%; median = 100%). Our ability to sustain PrEP provisions, as measured by both PrEP PE and MPR, can likely be attributed to our pre-COVID-19 system for PrEP delivery, which emphasizes navigation, same-day initiation, and primary care integration. In the era of COVID-19 as well as future unforeseen healthcare disruptions, PrEP programs must be robust and flexible in order to sustain PrEP delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2507-2512
Number of pages6
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • COVID-19
  • PrEP
  • Safety-Net Hospital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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