PrEP-related stigma and PrEP use among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada

Date

2022

Authors

Pico-Espinosa, Oscar Javier
Hull, Mark
MacPherson, Paul
Grace, Daniel
Gaspar, Mark
Lachowsky, Nathan J.
Mohammed, Saira
Demers, James
Kilduff, Marshall
Truong, Robinson

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

AIDS Research and Therapy

Abstract

Background We aimed to explore the association between PrEP-related stereotypes and perceived disapproval (hereafter PrEP-related stigma), and PrEP use. Methods We used data from a cross-sectional online survey among adult gay, bisexual, other men who have sex with men in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada. Participants were recruited 2019–2020 in-person from sexual health clinics and outreach programs, and online through dating mobile applications and websites. We used logistic regression models to explore the relationship between PrEP-related stigma and: 1-being a ‘never’ versus ‘current’ PrEP user, and 2-being a ‘former’ versus ‘current’ user. Results The median age of the sample was 32 (Q1-Q3 = 27–40), most were white born in Canada (48%), 45% had never used PrEP, 16% were former PrEP users and 39% were current PrEP users. Of 1527 individuals who started the survey, 1190 participants answered questions about PrEP-related stigma: 254 (21.3%) were classified as having low level of PrEP-related stigma, 776 (65.2%) intermediate, and 160 (13.5%) high. No significant association was found when never PrEP users and current PrEP users were compared: adjusted OR = 1.44 (95%-CI: 0.8–2.5). High PrEP-related stigma was positively associated with being a former PrEP user compared to being a current PrEP user: adjusted OR = 2.5 (95%-CI: 1.3–4.9). Conclusion PrEP-related stigma is associated with not using PrEP, particularly with PrEP discontinuation. Our findings indicate that stigma persists as a barrier to PrEP use.

Description

Keywords

HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, Social stigma, Health promotion, Retention in care, Health services accessibility

Citation

Pico-Espinosa, O. J., Hull, M., MacPherson, P., Grace, D., Gaspar, M., Lachowsky, N., . . . Tan, D. H. S. (2022). “PrEP-related stigma and PrEP use among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada.” AIDS Research and Therapy, 19(49). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12981-022-00473-0