Biomedical Approaches to HIV Prevention in Women

  • Christine L. Heumann
Female Genital Tract Infections (J Sobel, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Female Genital Tract Infections


Purpose of Review

Effective HIV prevention techniques for women are of critical importance, as nearly half of all HIV infections globally are in women. This article reviews the recent literature on biomedical approaches to HIV prevention in women.

Recent Findings

In trials in which women were adherent to oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), PrEP was equally efficacious in men and women. However, in studies of oral PrEP exclusively in women, adherence was low, and it was not efficacious. In trials of topical PrEP, including vaginal tenofovir gel and the monthly dapivirine ring, efficacy was also dependent upon adherence. Treatment as prevention (TasP) is a very effective HIV prevention strategy, though limited in that it is not controlled by the HIV-uninfected partner.


Adherence is an important factor in the efficacy of biomedical interventions for HIV prevention in women; continued research is needed to identify the most efficacious and acceptable agents for women. Oral PrEP is currently recommended for the following groups of HIV-negative women: heterosexual women in ongoing sexual relationships with a partner infected with or at substantial risk of HIV infection and women who inject drugs and share injection or drug preparation equipment.


Women HIV prevention Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) Treatment as prevention (TasP) 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Christine Heumann declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wayne State University School of MedicineDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Detroit Public Health STD ClinicDetroitUSA

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