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Sexual risk behaviors and acceptability of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis among HIV-negative gay and bisexual men in serodiscordant relationships: a mixed methods study.

  • Author(s): Brooks, Ronald A;
  • Landovitz, Raphael J;
  • Kaplan, Rachel L;
  • Lieber, Eli;
  • Lee, Sung-Jae;
  • Barkley, Thomas W
  • et al.

The objective of this mixed methods study was to examine current sexual risk behaviors, acceptability and potential adoption of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention, and sexual behavior intentions with PrEP adoption among HIV-negative gay and bisexual men (GBM) in HIV serodiscordant relationships. A multiracial/ethnic sample of 25 HIV-negative GBM in serodiscordant relationships completed a qualitative interview and a brief interviewer-administered survey. A modified grounded theory approach was used to identify key themes relating to acceptability and future adoption of PrEP. Participants reported engaging in sexual risk behaviors that place them at risk for HIV infection. Participants also reported a high level of acceptability for PrEP and willingness to adopt PrEP for HIV prevention. Qualitative themes explaining future PrEP adoption included: (1) the opportunity to engage in sex using a noncondom HIV prevention method, (2) protection from HIV infection, and (3) less anxiety when engaging in sex with an HIV-positive partner. Associated with the future adoption of PrEP, a majority (64%) of participants indicated the likelihood for an increase in sexual risk behaviors and a majority (60%) of participants also indicated the likelihood for a decrease or abandonment of condom use, both of which are in contrast to the findings from the large iPrEx study. These findings suggest that the use of PrEP by HIV-negative GBM in serodiscordant relationships carries with it the potential for risk compensation. The findings suggest that PrEP only be offered as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy that includes ongoing risk reduction counseling in the delivery of PrEP to help moderate risk compensation.

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