Estimating HIV Incident Diagnoses Among Men Who Have Sex With Men Eligible for Pre-exposure Prophylaxis but Not Taking It: Protocol and Feasibility Assessment of Data Sources and Methods
Background: HIV incidence estimates are published each year for all Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) counties, but they are not stratified by the demographic variables highly associated with risk of infection. Regularly updated estimates of HIV incident diagnoses available at local levels are required to monitor the epidemic in the United States over time and could contribute to background incidence rate estimates for alternative clinical trial designs for new HIV prevention products.
Objective: We describe methods using existing, robust data sources within areas in the United States to reliably estimate longitudinal HIV incident diagnoses stratified by race and age categories among men who have sex with other men (MSM) eligible for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) but not taking it.
Methods: This is a secondary analysis of existing data sources to develop new estimates of incident HIV diagnoses in MSM. We reviewed past methods used to estimate incident diagnoses and explored opportunities to improve these estimates. We will use existing surveillance data sources and population sizes of HIV PrEP-eligible MSM estimated from population-based data sources (eg, US Census data and pharmaceutical prescription databases) to develop metropolitan statistical area–level estimates of new HIV diagnoses among PrEP-eligible MSM. Required parameters are number of new diagnoses among MSM, estimates of MSM with an indication for PrEP, and prevalent PrEP use including median duration of use; these parameters will be stratified by jurisdiction and age group or race or ethnicity. Preliminary outputs will be available in 2023, and updated estimates will be produced annually thereafter.
Results: Data to parameterize new HIV diagnoses among PrEP-eligible MSM are available with varying levels of public availability and timeliness. In early 2023, the most recent available data on new HIV diagnoses were from the 2020 HIV surveillance report, which reports 30,689 new HIV infections in 2020, and 24,724 of them occurred in an MSA with a population of ≥500,000. Updated estimates for PrEP coverage based on commercial pharmacy claims data through February 2023 will be generated. The rate of new HIV diagnoses among MSM can be estimated from new diagnoses within each demographic group (numerator) and the total person-time at risk of diagnosis for each group (denominator) by metropolitan statistical area and year. To estimate time at risk, the person-time of individuals on PrEP or person-time after incident HIV infection but before diagnosis should be removed from stratified population size estimates of the total number of person-years with indications for PrEP.
Conclusions: Reliable, serial, cross-sectional estimates for rates of new HIV diagnoses for MSM with PrEP indications can serve as benchmark community estimates of failures of HIV prevention and opportunities to improve services and will support public health epidemic monitoring and alternative clinical trial designs.