Transwomen have an increased risk of HIV acquisition compared with other adults. Drug-drug interactions between pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and gender-affirming therapy are cited as a reason for poor PrEP uptake among transwomen. We evaluated plasma tenofovir and emtricitabine pharmacokinetics and their active intracellular anabolites, tenofovir-diphosphate and emtricitabine-triphosphate, in transwomen receiving feminizing hormones. Methods: We enrolled HIV-negative transwomen (≥19 years) not receiving PrEP. Participants took oral tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine 300/200 mg daily for 14 days. Plasma was collected at 0 h (pre-dose), 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 12 h on day 14 post-tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine dose. The plasma AUC0-24 was calculated using the trapezoidal rule and compared with historical HIV-negative cisgender adults as geometric mean ratios (GMRs, 90% CI). Secondarily, tenofovir-diphosphate and emtricitabine-triphosphate from PBMCs collected at 0 h and 12 h were reported descriptively as geometric means (90% CI). Clinical trials registration: NCT03270969. Results: Among 15 transwomen (mean age 32 years), geometric mean tenofovir and emtricitabine plasma AUC0-24 were lower compared with controls: tenofovir, 2.10 versus 2.76 mg·h/L, GMR 0.76 (0.65-0.90), P = 0.01; emtricitabine, 9.15 versus 10.64 mg·h/L, GMR 0.86 (0.75-0.98), P = 0.07. Tenofovir-diphosphate and emtricitabine-triphosphate concentrations were higher than previously reported in the literature: 167.1 (146.6-190.5) fmol/106 cells and 15.4 (13.8-17.3) pmol/106 cells, respectively. Conclusions: We observed lower plasma tenofovir and emtricitabine concentrations in transwomen compared with historical cisgender adults, yet intracellular tenofovir-diphosphate and emtricitabine-triphosphate concentrations were higher than previously reported in PBMCs. Understanding the differences of PrEP pharmacokinetics in plasma and tissue compartments and the resultant impact on efficacy remains important for transwomen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1242-1249
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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