Two-thirds of HIV-negative MSM likely to use PrEP

Published: August 19, 2011

August 19, 2011 (Atlanta, Georgia) — About two-thirds of men who have sex with men (MSM) reported being at least somewhat likely to use preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) anti-HIV medications, according to a new survey.

Patrick Sullivan, DVM, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia, presented the findings during an oral session at the 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference here.

According to Dr. Sullivan, Preexposure Prophylaxis Initiative (iPrEx) trial findings published on November 23, 2010, indicated that PrEP was effective in reducing HIV acquisition among high-risk men. However, "awareness of PrEP results among MSM and willingness to use PrEP in light of trial results remain unclear," he said during his presentation.

The researchers conducted an online survey from November 30 to December 19, 2010, using various online methods to reach MSM. Men were required to be at least 18 years and have had at least 1 male sex partner in past 12 months. They all described themselves as being HIV negative.

Of 3431 people who began the survey, 1333 were included in the analytic cohort. Of the participants, 71% were white, 8% were black, and 13% were Hispanic. Regions of the country were fairly equally represented. About one-third had a college degree. Median age was 28 years.

Of the participants, 29% had not heard of the iPrEP study results, and about 60% of those had obtained that information from the Internet. Overall, more than two-thirds of participants were extremely, very, or somewhat likely to use PrEP, with nonwhite participants being more likely to use PrEP (71% – 78%) than white participants (64%). Less educated MSM and those previously tested for HIV were also more likely to use PrEP.

"Our study furthered previous knowledge by surveying MSM after the PrEP trial results were released," Dr. Sullivan told Medscape Medical News. "This is important because often, people will report a relatively high hypothetical willingness to use a new product or service that is not yet available, but once it becomes ‘real’ their willingness changes," he said.

According to Dr. Sullivan, data were collected from an Internet sample of MSM, so it will be important to also survey men who do not use the Internet to see if their willingness to use PrEP may be different.

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