Skip to main content


Log in

Perceived Likelihood of Using HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Medications Among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men

  • Brief Report
  • Published:
AIDS and Behavior Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a new strategy for reducing the risk of HIV infection; however, questions about the likelihood of use remain. As part of an ongoing longitudinal study of YMSM, interest in PrEP use under various conditions of side-effects, dosing, and effectiveness were assessed. Participants aged 16–20 living in Chicago and the surrounding areas were recruited beginning December 2009, using a modified form of respondent driven sampling. A cross-sectional sample of 171 HIV negative YMSM interviewed approximately 6 months after initial enrollment was analyzed. This sample was somewhat interested in adopting PrEP as an HIV prevention strategy, particularly if the dosing and side-effects burden was low and the perceived benefits were high. PrEP interest was unrelated with drug use and number of sexual partners, but negatively correlated with number of unprotected anal sex acts. The scale was positively associated with intentions for use in specific risk situations.


Profilaxis de Pre-exposición (PrEP) es una estrategia para reducir el riesgo de infección de VIH; sin embargo, existen dudas sobre la probabilidad de su uso. Interés en el uso de PrEP, tomando en cuenta los efectos secundarios, dosificación y eficacia, fueron evaluados en un grupo de hombres jóvenes que tienen relaciones sexuales con hombres (HJSH). Estos participantes están inscritos en un estudio longitudinal. Para ser incluido, participantes tenían que estar entre 16 a 20 años de edad y residir en la cuidad de Chicago a partir de Diciembre 2009. Los participantes fueron reclutados utilizando un variante del método respondent-driven sampling (RDS). Se realizó un estudio transversal con una muestra de 171 HJSH seronegativos para el análisis. Los participantes fueron entrevistados aproximadamente 6 meses después de la inscripción inicial. Los resultados indicaron que esta población está algo interesado en la adaptación de PrEP como una estrategia de prevención del VIH. El interés sube cuando se percibe como baja la carga de efectos secundarios y la dosificación y los beneficios altos. El consumo de drogas y el número de parejas sexuales no estaba relacionado con interés en PrEP. Además el numero de actos de sexo anal sin protección estaba negativamente correlacionado con el interés en PrEP. La escala tenia una asociación positiva con la intención de utilizar PrEp en situaciones de riesgo sexual.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.


  1. Grant RM, Lama JR, Anderson PL, et al. Preexposure chemoprophylaxis for HIV prevention in men who have sex with men. N Engl J Med. 2010;363(27):2587–99.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Donnell D, Baeten J, Hendrix C, editors. Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate drug levels indicate PrEP use is strongly correlated with HIV-1 protective effects: Kenya and Uganda. In: 19th conference on retroviruses and opportunistic infections; 2012 March 5–8, Seattle, WA.

  3. Baeten J, Celum C, editors. Antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV-1 prevention among heterosexual African men and women: the partners PrEP study. In: 6th International AIDS Society conference on HIV pathogenesis, treatment and prevention; 2011 July 17–20, Rome.

  4. CDC (2011). Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention promoting safe and effectiveness use in the United States: new tool to reduce the risk of HIV infection among gay and bisexual men. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services. (Accessed 2012 May 15);

  5. Prejean J, Song R, Hernandez A, et al. Estimated HIV incidence in the United States, 2006–2009. PLoS ONE. 2011;6(8):e17502.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Rudy BJ, Murphy DA, Harris DR, Muenz L, Ellen J. Patient-related risks for nonadherence to antiretroviral therapy among HIV-infected youth in the United States: a study of prevalence and interactions. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2009;23(3):185–94.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Golub SA, Kowalczyk W, Weinberger CL, Parson JT. Preexposure prophylaxis and predicted condom use among high-risk men who have sex with men. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2010;54(5):548–55.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Koblin BA, Mansergh G, Frye V, et al. Condom-use decision making in the context of hypothetical pre-exposure prophylaxis efficacy among substance-using men who have sex with men: project MIX. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2011;58(3):319–27.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Heckathorn DD. Respondent-driven sampling: a new approach to the study of hidden populations. Soc Probl. 1997;44:174–200.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Carey MP, Schroder KE. Development and psychometric evaluation of the brief HIV knowledge questionnaire. AIDS Educ Prev. 2002;14(2):172–82.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Mustanski B, Lyons T, Garcia SC. Internet use and sexual health of young men who have sex with men: a mixed-methods study. Arch Sex Behav. 2011;40(2):289–300.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Carey MP, Morrison-Beedy D, Johnson BT. The HIV-knowledge questionnaire: development and evaluation of a reliable, valid, and practical self-administered questionnaire. AIDS Behav. 1997;1(1):61–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Zwick WR, Velicer WF. Comparison of five rules for determining the number of components to retain. Psychol Bull. 1986;99(3):432–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Cattell RB. Multivariate behavioral research and the integrative challenge. Multivar Behav Res. 1966;1(2):245–76.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Mustanski BS, Newcomb ME, Du Bois SN, Garcia SC, Grov C. HIV in young men who have sex with men: a review of epidemiology, risk and protective factors, and interventions. J Sex Res. 2011;48(2):218–53.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Ross CE. Wu C-l. The links between education and health. Am Sociol Rev. 1995;60(5):719–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Mustanski B, Newcomb ME, Clerkin EM. Relationship characteristics and sexual risk-taking in young men who have sex with men. Health Psychol. 2011;30(5):597–605.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (R01DA025548). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Brian Mustanski.



Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Questionnaire

Although there is no drug which can protect you from getting HIV, scientists are busy researching ways to make one. The following questions are about how you would feel about taking a medication which could prevent you from getting HIV, if it was created.

When answering these questions, remember that in order for any drug to be effective, you have to take it as prescribed. You would always have to take the medication as prescribed or it might not work. Also bear in mind that this medication would only work to protect you from HIV, it would not protect you from other sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Response options: 1 = Not at all likely, 2 = Somewhat likely, 3 = Very likely.

  1. (1)

    If there was a drug available that would keep you from getting HIV, how likely is it that you would take it?

  2. (2)

    How likely would you be to take a drug that protects you from getting HIV if it caused side effects like dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, rash, gas or skin discoloration?

  3. (3)

    How likely would you be to take a drug that protects you from getting HIV if you had to take it every day in order for it to be effective?

  4. (4)

    How likely would you be to take a drug that protects you from getting HIV if you had to take it 3 times a week in order for it to be effective?

  5. (5)

    How likely would you be to take a drug that protects you from getting HIV if you had to take more than 1 pill a day in order for it to be effective?

  6. (6)

    How likely would you be to take a single dose of a drug that protects you from getting HIV the day before you had unprotected sex?

  7. (7)

    How likely would you be to take a drug that protects you from getting HIV if you had to take it for 28 days after unprotected sex?

  8. (8)

    How likely would you be to take a drug that reduces your risk of getting HIV by 50 %?

  9. (9)

    How likely would you be to use a condom when having sex if you were taking a medication that reduced your risk of getting HIV?

  10. (10)

    How likely would you be to take a drug that protects you from getting HIV if you were in a monogamous relationship with a partner you knew was HIV-infected?

  11. (11)

    How likely would you be to take a drug that protects you from getting HIV if you only had casual sexual partners?

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mustanski, B., Johnson, A.K., Garofalo, R. et al. Perceived Likelihood of Using HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Medications Among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men. AIDS Behav 17, 2173–2179 (2013).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: