Awareness of post-exposure HIV prophylaxis in high-risk men who have sex with men in New York City

Published: February 25, 2011

Abstract

Objectives To understand the factors associated with knowledge of non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), bathhouse patrons in New York City (NYC) were surveyed. Methods 554 men who have sex with men (MSM) at two NYC bathhouses were given a standardised survey focused on nPEP and PrEP at the time of HIV testing. Results In the previous 90 days, 63% of respondents reported unprotected sex with a male partner and 7% reported any sex with a known HIV-positive male partner. Less than half reported having a primary provider (primary care practitioner) who was aware of their MSM behaviour. 201 men (36%) were aware of nPEP or PrEP. In univariate analyses, race/ethnicity, previous HIV testing, gay self-identification, higher education level, having a primary provider aware of MSM behaviour, reported interaction with the healthcare system, use of the internet for meeting sex partners, reporting unprotected sex in the previous 90 days, reporting any sex with an HIV-positive male partner in the previous 90 days and having a higher number of sex partners were each significantly associated with being aware of nPEP or PrEP. In multivariate analysis, having a higher number of sex partners was significantly associated (OR 5.10, p=0.02) with post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)/PrEP knowledge and disclosure to a primary care provider was also associated, although less robustly (OR 2.10, p=0.06). Conclusions Knowledge of nPEP or PrEP among sexually active MSM in NYC is low and is associated with having a primary provider aware of their patient’s same-sex behaviours. These findings show the need for improving education about nPEP among high-risk MSM in NYC and the role of providers in these efforts.

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