The Unanticipated Benefits of PrEP for Young Black Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is effective at reducing new HIV infections among adherent users. However, there are potential benefits of PrEP beyond HIV prevention that remain understudied, particularly among young Black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). In 2018, we conducted six focus groups (n = 36) in four midwestern cities: Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Detroit, MI; and Kansas City, MO with current and former PrEP users who identified as Black MSM. The focus groups covered medical care and provider experiences, patterns of PrEP use and adherence, relationships while on PrEP, and PrEP stigma. Results revealed four unanticipated benefits of PrEP for young Black MSM: (1) improved engagement in medical care, (2) reduced sexual and HIV anxiety, (3) increased sexual comfort and freedom, and (4) positive sexual relationships with people living with HIV. Findings from this study fill a gap in our understanding of the potential benefits of PrEP beyond HIV prevention. Public health campaigns and messaging around PrEP should incorporate such benefits to reach young Black MSM who may be motivated by benefits beyond HIV prevention.
KeywordsPre-exposure prophylaxis Young Black MSM Sexual anxiety Engagement in medical care Focus groups
Funding support was provided by the National Institute of Mental Health (R01-MH115764; PI: Walsh; P30-MH052776, PI: Jeffrey A. Kelly; K01-MH112412; PI: Quinn). The Authors would like to acknowledge the support and collaboration of our community partner agencies in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Detroit. Special Thanks to the Red Door Clinic in Minneapolis, the Detroit Public Health STD Clinic, Wayne State University, and University of Missouri-Kansas City, and all of the staff at the Center for AIDS Intervention Research (CAIR) who were instrumental in this research.
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