A Multi-US City Assessment of Awareness and Uptake of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV Prevention Among Black Men and Transgender Women Who Have Sex with Men

Authors:

Lisa A. Eaton
Derrick D. Matthews
Daniel D. Driffin
Leigh A. Bukowski
Patrick A. Wilson
Ron Stall
The POWER Study Team

Abstract:

The HIV epidemic among Black men and transgender women who have sex with men (BMTW) demands an urgent public health response. HIV point prevalence among this population ranges from 25 to 43%-a rate far exceeding any other group. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention is a very promising prevention tool; however, its full potential to slow the epidemic has yet to be realized. For the current study, random time-location sampling at Black Gay Pride Events was used to collect data from N = 1274 BMTW, from five US cities, reporting HIV-negative/unknown status. In-field HIV testing was also provided to participants. Participants were assessed on awareness and use of PrEP, health care factors, HIV testing history, psychosocial variables, and sex behaviors. About one third of participants were aware of PrEP(39%), and a small percentage of participants were users of PrEP (4.6%). In multivariable analyses, being in a relationship, testing for HIV in the past 6 months, and others being aware of one’s sexuality were positively associated with PrEP awareness. Higher levels of internalized homophobia and greater numbers of female sex partners were positively associated with PrEP use, while education and condom use were negatively associated. Based on study findings, messaging and uptake of PrEP needs greater expansion and requires novel approaches for scale-up. Improving linkage to HIV testing services is likely critical for engaging BMTW with PrEP. The potential for PrEP to slow the HIVepidemic is high; however, we must strengthen efforts to ensure universal availability and uptake.