Despite its effectiveness, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV is underutilized. Deterrents include discomfort discussing HIV/AIDS or sex which may limit: (1) HIV-status disclosure (2) awareness of PrEP and (3) the potential for partner-to-partner education.
Participants were a convenience sample of patients with scheduled visits to outpatient HIV and perinatal-HIV clinics in a public hospital in Miami. A cross-sectional survey assessed demographics, frequency of serostatus disclosure, PrEP awareness, and willingness to recommend PrEP to intimate partners. Comfort discussing HIV/AIDS and sex and the frequency with which the subject of HIV/AIDS arose in conversations were assessed using Likert scales. Results are presented descriptively with chi-squared and t-tests.
Surveys were completed by 71 participants. Of respondents, 83.1% were heterosexual, 80.3% were African American and 22.5% were Hispanic. Detectable or unknown viral load was reported by 29.6%.
In the past year, 40.8% of participants reported having HIV-negative or unknown-status sexual partners. Of these, 17.2% reported that they 'never' disclose HIV status to sexual partners. A significant correlation was found between frequency of status disclosure and general comfort discussing HIV/AIDS with intimate partners (p < 0.001; R2= .413).
Participants were also asked how often the subject of HIV/AIDS comes up in conversations. Of respondents, 64% indicated 'never' or 'rarely' does it come up with friends and 45% indicated 'never' or 'rarely' does it come up with family. Prior PrEP awareness was reported by 31% of participants. Participants with knowledge of PrEP before the survey reported that the subject of HIV/AIDS came up in conversations with friends significantly more often (p=0.034) and with family more often (p=0.06) than those without prior knowledge.
Mean comfort level discussing sex with intimate partners on a Likert scale of 1-5 was significantly higher than comfort level discussing HIV status with intimate partners (4.11 vs. 3.35, p=0.013 for difference).
Frequency of and comfort with discussions about HIV/AIDS and sex with friends, family, and partners may impact PrEP awareness and should be considered when devising strategies to offer PrEP to discordant partners.
S. K. Iyengar, None
M. T. Armstrong, None
J. E. Potter, None
S. Doblecki-Lewis, None