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Use of, and likelihood of using, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis among men who have sex with men in Europe and Central Asia: findings from a 2017 large geosocial networking application survey
  1. Adam Bourne1,
  2. Beatrice Alba1,
  3. Alex Garner2,
  4. Gianfranco Spiteri3,
  5. Anastasia Pharris3,
  6. Teymur Noori3
  1. 1Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Hornet Gay Social Network, San Francisco, California, USA
  3. 3European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Solna, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Adam Bourne, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria 3086, Australia; a.bourne{at}latrobe.edu.au

Abstract

Objective Currently, seven European countries provide HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) through public health services, although there are numerous reports of off-licence use. The objective of this study was to examine current use of PrEP, likelihood of future use and indicators of potential PrEP candidacy among an opportunistic sample of men who have sex with men in Europe and Central Asia.

Methods A survey was sent out in eight languages to users of the Hornet gay networking application in July and August 2017. Descriptive statistics present proportions of PrEP use, while factors associated with PrEP use are examined using logistic and linear regressions.

Results Of 12 053 participants whose responses came from 55 European and Central Asian countries, 10 764 (89%) were not living with diagnosed HIV. Among these HIV-negative/untested men, 10.1% (n=1071) were currently taking PrEP or had done so within the previous 3 months. Current or recent PrEP users were significantly more likely to have taken postexposure prophylaxis (adjusted OR (AOR)=16.22 (95% CI 13.53 to 19.45)) or received an STI diagnosis (AOR=4.53 (95% CI 3.77 to 5.44)) in the previous 12 months than those who had not. Most commonly, these men obtained PrEP from a physician (28.1%) or the internet (24.8%), while 33.6% had not disclosed PrEP use to their doctor. Men reporting happiness with their sex life were more likely to have taken PrEP (AOR=1.73 (95% CI 1.59 to 1.89)). Nearly a quarter (21.5%) of those not on PrEP said they were likely to use it in the next 6 months.

Conclusions The majority of men using, or intending to use, PrEP appear to have a risk profile consistent with emerging guidance. A large proportion of these men are accessing PrEP outside of traditional healthcare settings, posing a challenge for routine monitoring.

  • HIV
  • gay men
  • health promotion
  • sexual health

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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Footnotes

  • Handling editor Joseph D Tucker

  • Contributors TN and AB designed the study and survey instrument, with input from AP, GS and AG. The survey was promoted online by AG. Data analysis was performed by BA. The manuscript was prepared by AB and BA with input from TN, AP, AG and GS.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the Research Ethics Committee of La Trobe University (REF: S17-207).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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