BACKGROUND: An international randomized clinical trial (RCT) on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as an human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-prevention intervention found that taken on a daily basis, PrEP was safe and effective among men who have sex with men (MSM) and male-to-female transgender women. Within the context of the HIV epidemic in the United States (US), MSM and transgender women are the most appropriate groups to target for PrEP implementation at the population level; however, their perspectives on evidenced-based biomedical research and the results of this large trial remain virtually unknown. In this study, we examined the acceptability of individual daily use of PrEP and assessed potential barriers to community uptake.
METHODS: We conducted semi-structured interviews with an ethnoracially diverse sample of thirty HIV-negative and unknown status MSM (n = 24) and transgender women (n = 6) in three California metropolitan areas. Given the burden of disease among ethnoracial minorities in the US, we purposefully oversampled for these groups. Thematic coding and analysis of data was conducted utilizing an approach rooted in grounded theory.
RESULTS: While participants expressed general interest in PrEP availability, results demonstrate: a lack of community awareness and confusion about PrEP; reservations about PrEP utilization, even when informed of efficacious RCT results; and concerns regarding equity and the manner in which a PrEP intervention could be packaged and marketed in their communities.
CONCLUSIONS: In order to effectively reduce HIV health disparities at the population level, PrEP implementation must take into account the uptake concerns of those groups who would actually access and use this biomedical intervention as a prevention strategy. Recommendations addressing these concerns are provided.
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