Limited Awareness and Low Immediate Uptake of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis among Men Who Have Sex with Men Using an Internet Social Networking Site
Rosenberger, Joshua G.
Novak, David S.
Mitty, Jennifer A.
White, Jaclyn M.
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CitationKrakower, Douglas S., Matthew J. Mimiaga, Joshua G. Rosenberger, David S. Novak, Jennifer A. Mitty, Jaclyn M. White, and Kenneth H. Mayer. 2012. Limited awareness and low immediate uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis among men who have sex with men using an internet social networking site. PLoS ONE 7(3): e33119.
AbstractBackground: In 2010, the iPrEx trial demonstrated that oral antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reduced the risk of HIV acquisition among high-risk men who have sex with men (MSM). The impact of iPrEx on PrEP knowledge and actual use among at-risk MSM is unknown. Online surveys were conducted to assess PrEP awareness, interest and experience among at-risk MSM before and after iPrEx, and to determine demographic and behavioral factors associated with these measures. Methods and Findings: Cross-sectional, national, internet-based surveys were administered to U.S. based members of the most popular American MSM social networking site 2 months before (n = 398) and 1 month after (n = 4 558) publication of iPrEx results. Comparisons were made between these samples with regards to PrEP knowledge, interest, and experience. Data were collected on demographics, sexual risk, and experience with post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Regression analyses were performed to identify factors associated with PrEP awareness, interest, and experience post-iPrEx. Most participants were white, educated, and indicated high-risk sexual behaviors. Awareness of PrEP was limited pre- and post-iPrEx (13% vs. 19%), whereas interest levels after being provided with a description of PrEP remained high (76% vs. 79%). PrEP use remained uncommon (0.7% vs. 0.9%). PrEP use was associated with PEP awareness (OR 7.46; CI 1.52–36.6) and PEP experience (OR 34.2; CI 13.3–88.4). PrEP interest was associated with older age (OR 1.01; CI 1.00–1.02), unprotected anal intercourse with ≥1 male partner in the prior 3 months (OR 1.40; CI 1.10–1.77), and perceiving oneself at increased risk for HIV acquisition (OR 1.20; CI 1.13–1.27). Conclusions: Among MSM engaged in online networking, awareness of PrEP was limited 1 month after the iPrEx data were released. Utilization was low, although some MSM who reported high-risk behaviors were interested in using PrEP. Studies are needed to understand barriers to PrEP utilization by at-risk MSM.
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