Background: HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective at preventing HIV acquisition. Levels of PrEP awareness among HIV-positive MSM, especially those who engage in high-risk sex with HIV-negative partners, have not been extensively described. In May 2015, the city of Columbus, OH implemented an intensive PrEP awareness media campaign. This analysis examines changes in levels of PrEP awareness, willingness to recommend PrEP, and recent PrEP use by HIV-negative sex partners, in a cohort of HIV-positive MSM before and after the campaign.
Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional data from HIV-positive MSM attending a university HIV clinic between March and September 2015. In a self-administered survey, participants reported whether they were aware of PrEP, would recommend PrEP to their HIV-negative sex partners, or had sexual partners who recently used PrEP.
Results: Seventy-three and 68 men participated prior to the campaign and after the campaign, respectively. No significant differences in age, race, education, main sex partner status and sexual orientation were observed. Overall, PrEP awareness and willingness to recommend PrEP to an HIV-negative sex partner were both significantly higher after the campaign (74% vs. 56%; p=0.02 and 82% vs. 63%; p=0.01). Among men reporting recent unprotected anal intercourse, willingness to recommend PrEP to an HIV-negative sex partner increased from 65% to 83% (p=0.07). The proportion of men reporting that an HIV-negative sex partner recently used PrEP increased from 15% to 29%. The proportion of men with an HIV-negative main sexual partner who reported recent PrEP use by the partner increased from 7% to 29%.
Conclusions: Increased levels of PrEP awareness, willingness to recommend PrEP, and recent PrEP use by HIV-negative sex partners was observed in a cohort of HIV-positive MSM after an intensive PrEP awareness media campaign. Educating HIV-positive MSM on the benefits of PrEP could potentially influence PrEP awareness levels and use by HIV-negative sex partners.