Methods: Medical students at 18 U.S. allopathic medical schools completed a survey on knowledge, beliefs, and experiences of PrEP in May-June 2016. Knowledge was assessed with a 10-question quiz on PrEP facts. No incentives to complete the survey were offered. Data were summarized by frequency (%) for categorical variables and with means (SD) for continuous variables. Chi-squared tests were used to examine differences between knowledge of PREP and other categorical variables.
The study population (N=1588) included women (53%), non-Caucasians (27%), and non-heterosexuals (15%). Median age was 25 (range 21-53). 48 home states, including D.C., and 21 home countries were represented. 18% of 4th year students were never taught about PrEP in medical school, compared to 40% of 1st year students (p<0.001). Overall, 28% of students were unaware of PrEP. Those unaware believed patients without HIV will not adhere to PrEP (p<0.001). Awareness was associated with knowing someone with HIV besides a patient and experience caring for HIV-infected, intravenous drug-using, and LGBTQ people (p<0.001). Higher knowledge scores were associated with confidence in determining a patient's candidacy for PrEP and, for 3rd and 4th year students, having recommended PrEP in the clinical setting (p<0.001). Overally, 57% believed behavioral intervention should be tried before prescribing PrEP, 45% believed patients would not adhere to PrEP, and 22% worried that PrEP is not effective.
Conclusion: We show in an 18-site study that medical students have limited awareness, knowledge, positive beliefs, and experiences of PrEP. Given these findings and the underutilization of PrEP by current practitioners, we recommend increasing the inclusion of PrEP in medical student education.
J. Volk, None
T. Bhowmick, None