Introduction HIV rates in Baltimore City are among the highest in the United States, with the majority of new infections attributed to male-to-male sexual contact. In 2016, the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) implemented a Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) program at their sexually transmitted diseases (STD) clinics. We assessed awareness, interest, and sources of knowledge about PrEP among patients served at these clinics.
Methods We surveyed a convenience sample of 1675 patients who attended BCHD clinics between 4/12/2016 and 10/3/2016. Participants were provided a self-administered survey that assessed awareness, interest, and sources of knowledge about PrEP, as well as age, race, sex, and sexual preference. 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 32.1 (SD=11.8) and 61.0% were male. 91.1% of participants self-identified as African American, 5.7% as white, and 3.2% as “Other.” 20.0% of the participants were aware of PrEP and 42.2% were interested in PrEP. Less than 1% of all participants and 9.2% of men who have sex with men (MSM) reported current PrEP use. White participants were more likely to be aware of PrEP than African Americans (OR=1.76, p=0.026), but there was no significant difference in interest between these groups (p=0.122). By univariate analysis men were more likely to be aware of PrEP than women (OR=1.38, p=0.013), but multivariable analysis eliminated this significant difference (p=0.081). MSM were significantly more likely to be aware (OR=14.29, p<0.001) and interested (OR=1.59, p=0.024) in PrEP. Sources of knowledge included healthcare providers (40.0%), friends (24.7%), and television (16.4%).
Conclusion MSM receiving care at the Baltimore City STD Clinics are significantly more likely to be aware and interested in PrEP, but few are taking PrEP, highlighting a need to improve access and promote uptake in this high risk population.