Background: In 2015, adolescents 13-24 years were disproportionately affected and accounted for 22% of new HIV infections in the US. In New York State (NYS), the rate of adolescents (13-19 years) living with HIV infection is more than twice the national rate (44.4 vs. 19.4 per 100,000 population). As part of the ending the epidemic (ETE) program, the NYS Dept. of Health spearheaded access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk individuals to keep them HIV negative. This study aims to test the hypothesis that adolescents at risk may not be utilizing PrEP and that there are barriers to adopting it.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey (Qualtrics) was conducted from Aug 2017-May 2018 using a 13-item multiple choice and Lickert scale validated questionnaire that takes <5 minutes to complete. Descriptive and non-parametric tests (GraphPad Prism v5.04) were used to characterize knowledge and acceptance of PrEP among adolescents in Capital District NY after the initiation of the ETE program in NYS.
Results: There were 97 respondents and 89 (92%) completed all questions. Most of the respondents identify themselves as female (36%), straight (27%), middle aged adolescents 15-17 years (64%), African American (46%) and currently in high school (69%). Majority have seen a medical provider in the past 12 months (90%), at the doctors office (61%), and majority have never been offered HIV test (60%). Majority have not heard of a medicine that can prevent HIV infection (58%), most have not heard of PrEP (57%), and many dont know where to go to learn more about PrEP (56%). Most have not been offered PrEP (86%) and respondents were split in adopting PrEP (Yes 49% vs. No 51%). The reasons for not agreeing to start PrEP are shown in Figure 1. Majority are interested in attending educational program on PrEP (57%). Adolescents are likely to adopt PrEP if they heard about it (p=0.01), if they know where to go to learn about it (p=0.02), and if someone offered it (p=0.03).
Conclusion: Adolescent knowledge of PrEP may be suboptimal and presents barriers to adopting it. However, they are willing to accept PrEP if offered. This study demonstrates potential avenues for intervention and provider-initiated programs should be evaluated in scaling-up PrEP into adolescent health services.
R. P. Santos,
M. Lepow, None
D. Tristram, None