Bridging Awareness and Acceptance of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Among Men Who Have Sex With Men and the Need for Targeting Chemsex and HIV Testing: Cross-Sectional Survey
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Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is currently an important tool for HIV prevention, especially in communities with higher risk of infection, notably men who have sex with men (MSM). To date, PrEP has remained generally unavailable in many cities around the world. In the planning of strategies for PrEP targeting MSM, community assessment is crucial to understand members' responses to the new intervention.

Awareness and acceptance are 2 different but intricately linked contexts of PrEP. The aim of this study was to identify the determinants of awareness and acceptance of PrEP among MSM and to delineate their interrelationships in Hong Kong where PrEP services have not been developed.

A Web-based questionnaire survey was administered in light of the popularity of the internet as a platform for information and networking in the MSM community. Factors associated with PrEP acceptance and awareness were separately analyzed, and their predictors were subsequently tested by multivariate logistic regression. Associations between acceptance and awareness of PrEP were examined by factor network analysis.

Between August and September 2016, results from a total of 453 HIV-negative MSM were analyzed. Half (49.7%, 225/453) of the respondents were aware of PrEP, and 78.3% (355/453) would consider using PrEP when it becomes available. Awareness of PrEP was associated with recent (P=.01) and ongoing (P=.04) use of psychotropic drugs for sex (chemsex). MSM who used online forums to seek sex partners had lower awareness (P=.04) than those visiting physical venues for sex networking. MSM who accepted PrEP were more likely users of internet channels for sex networking (P=.049), especially location-based social network apps (P=.04). MSM accepting PrEP were more concerned about their partners' HIV status (P=.002), history of sexually transmitted infections (P=.01), condom use (P=.02), and HIV testing behavior (P=.02). Multivariate logistic regressions revealed that PrEP awareness was related to one's networking pattern, whereas its acceptance was associated with inclination to self-protect from HIV. Factor network analysis highlighted the importance of chemsex, which was linked by over half of the edges, whereas the rest were contributed by HIV testing behaviors.

In Hong Kong, the overall awareness among MSM toward PrEP was only moderate but their acceptance was higher. Targeting MSM with chemsex behaviors through Web-based platforms and parallel development of tailored HIV testing services are important when introducing PrEP in the community.
Acceptance Date03/06/2019
All Author(s) ListKwan Tsz Ho, Lee Shui Shan
Journal nameJMIR Public Health and Surveillance
Volume Number5
Issue Number3
PublisherJMIR Publications
Article numbere13083
LanguagesEnglish-United States
KeywordsHIV, health knowledge, attitudes, practice, men who have sex with men, pre-exposure prophylaxis, psychotropic drugs

Last updated on 2021-16-10 at 00:37