Cite Your Source: Most Common Sources for PrEP Information
Meher Kalkat, Nioud Gebru, Bonnie Rowland, Maria Benvenuti, Robert Leeman,
Dr. Robert Leeman
College of Health and Human Performance
<p><span style=”color: black”>Background: Young men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) account for two-thirds of all new HIV cases and remain at high-risk for HIV infection (CDC, 2017). Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a highly effective HIV prevention medication (CDC, 2014). While PrEP awareness has increased, PrEP is still underutilized by high-risk groups (Petroll et al., 2017). This study examined associations between PrEP information source and PrEP-related attitudes specifically individuals’ beliefs regarding PrEP safety, confidence in PrEP’s efficacy, and perceived difficulty with PrEP adherence.</span></p><p><span style=”color: black”>Methods: Participants were young adult (ages 18-30) HIV-negative MSM in Southeastern U.S. drawn from a parent study assessing substance use and sexual activity in MSM. Participants completed a web survey regarding initial PrEP information source (who first told them about PrEP) and PrEP beliefs, assessed on 5-point Likert-type scales.</span></p><p><span style=”color: black”>Results: Of the 506 participants, 451 (89%) had heard of PrEP. </span>The most common source of initial PrEP information was the internet (<i>n</i> = 235, 53%), followed by friends and family (<i>n</i> = 75, 17%), news (<i>n </i>= 68, 15%), and public health organizations/doctors (<i>n </i>= 66, 15%). <span style=”color: black”>There were no significant differences in PrEP beliefs between information sources. Perceived PrEP safety was positively correlated with PrEP confidence. Perceived difficulty with PrEP adherence was negatively correlated with PrEP safety and confidence in PrEP efficacy.</span></p><p><span style=”color: black”>Conclusions: Findings suggest a high level of PrEP awareness, indicating that public health education efforts have been largely successful. Since most participants initially heard about PrEP from the Internet, future PrEP dissemination campaigns may utilize the Internet as a cost-effective platform that allows users to maintain anonymity.</span></p>
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