Introduction Young men who have sex with men (YMSM), especially African Americans, are disproportionately affected by HIV. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a highly effective intervention that could help prevent new HIV infections among YMSM. We assessed awareness and interest in PrEP among young men receiving care at the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Clinics.
Methods We surveyed a convenience sample of 252 men ages 18–24 who attended BCHD clinics between 4/12/2016 and 10/3/2016. Participants were provided a self-administered survey that assessed awareness and interest in PrEP. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analysis examined predictors of awareness and interest. Data collection will continue in 2017 to determine if awareness and interest change over time.
Results Mean age of participants was 21.5 (SD=1.98) and the majority (93.7%) self-identified as African American. Thirty-three participants (13.1%) reported sex with other men. Among all participants,19.4% were aware of PrEP, but 44.4% were interested in learning more about PrEP. Among YMSM, 72.7% were aware of PrEP, 63.6% were interested in learning more about PrEP, and 9.1% reported current PrEP use. None of the young men who did not report prior sex with men reported current PrEP use. In multivariable analysis adjusting for race, YMSM were more likely to be aware (AOR=19.9, p<0.001) and interested in PrEP (AOR=2.5, p=0.023) than young men who did not report sex with other men. Among YMSM, 37.5% reported learning about PrEP from healthcare providers, 36.4% from friends or sexual contacts, and 24.2% from media outlets (internet, television).
Conclusion YMSM receiving care at the BCHD STD Clinics are likely to be aware and interested in PrEP but fewer than 10% may be taking PrEP. Given that STD Clinics serve primarily minority young males disproportionately affected by HIV, future work should seek to improve youth-friendly services at public health clinics and leverage awareness and interest in PrEP in order to improve uptake in this vulnerable population.
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