The e-PrEP study is testing a formal referral system among social networks of Black men who have sex with men (BMSM), to refer other BMSM to access PrEP services through APLA Health’s PrEP Program
HIV incidence among BMSM remains high despite current prevention efforts. PrEP has the potential to reduce new HIV infections; however, uptake among BMSM remains low.
Nationally, Black young men who have sex with men (BYMSM) between the ages of 13 and 24 accounted for twice as many new HIV infections in 2010 than did young Hispanic/Latino or white MSM. According to the 2008 L.A. Men’s Survey (the most recent published CDC surveillance data for MSM in Los Angeles), the HIV prevalence for BYMSM ages 18 to 29 was 37%.
PrEP is a medication for people who don’t have HIV, to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. “PrEP” stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. The word “prophylaxis” means “to prevent or control the spread of an infection or disease”.
While PrEP is recommended by the CDC for high-risk MSM, Dr.’s Holloway and Harawa’s preliminary research among YMSM who use networking apps in California, indicates that fewer than 10% of BYMSM have ever taken PrEP.
An app-based cross-sectional survey among young MSM in California (n=761) demonstrated lower PrEP awareness in BYMSM compared to their white counterparts, and other research indicates several barriers that may limit PrEP uptake in BMSM in Los Angeles (LA).
Questions remain about how to motivate uptake of PrEP for HIV prevention. This study addresses a significant public health challenge: reducing new HIV infections and disparities in HIV incidence among BMSM.
The focus of the E-PrEP study is to test a referral system among Black MSM ages 18 and over and residing in Los Angeles County. Participants in this study who are on PrEP will be referring other Black MSM who are not on PrEP to have an initial PrEP counseling session with APLA Health’s PrEP Navigator, where they will receive more information about PrEP services and access.
UCLA Center for AIDS Research (CFAR)
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Researchers: Ian W. Holloway, Nina Harawa
Location: Los Angeles County
Sample: 10-20 Black MSM referring other Black MSM, and 10-50 Black MSM being referred to APLA Health’s PrEP Program