UBC Faculty Research and Publications

HIV leadership programming attendance is associated with PrEP and PEP awareness among young, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men in Vancouver, Canada Closson, K.; Chown, Sarah; Armstrong, Heather L; Wang, Lu; Bacani, Nicanor; Ho, Darren; Jollimore, Jody; Olarewaju, Gbolahan; Moore, David M; Roth, Eric A; Hogg, Robert S; Lachowsky, Nathan J

Abstract

Background: Young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (YGBM) may have reduced engagement and knowledge of HIV care and biomedical HIV prevention strategies, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and Treatment as Prevention (TasP), compared with adult GBM. We sought to understand differences in HIV prevention awareness, health care access, and service utilization between youth (16–29 years) and adult (≥30 year) GBM, as well as factors associated with attendance in HIV leadership programming among YGBM living in the publicly funded PrEP setting of Vancouver, Canada. Methods: Sexually-active GBM were recruited using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) from February 2012 to February 2015. Participants completed an in-person computer-assisted self-interview every 6 months, up to February 2017, with questions on sociodemographic factors, awareness of biomedical HIV prevention strategies, and an HIV treatment optimism-skepticism scale. Participants were asked if they had ever attended either of two HIV-leadership programs designed for YGBM. Both programs involve multiple GBM-led education and social networking sessions operated by community-based organizations in Vancouver. Multivariable Glimmix confounder models assessed differences between youth and adult GBM. Among younger men, bivariate analyses examined factors associated with HIV-leadership program attendance. Results: Of 698 GBM who enrolled in the longitudinal study, 36.8% were less than 30 years old at the first study visit. After controlling for gender identification, sexual orientation, HIV status, and income in the past 6 months, younger GBM (n = 257/698) had lower awareness of biomedical HIV prevention strategies and less HIV treatment optimism compared with older GBM (n = 441/698). Among younger GBM who attended HIV-leadership programs (n = 50), greater awareness of biomedical HIV prevention strategies and higher HIV treatment optimism were reported, compared with non-attendees. Conclusion: Younger GBM, who are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic, are less aware of new prevention technologies than older GBM, but attending peer-based HIV-leadership programs ameliorates age-disparities in HIV-prevention knowledge and treatment optimism.

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