Addressing HIV Stigma in MSM


Why men who have sex with men face social hurdles in seeking PrEP and preventive education.

New data from the International AIDS Society (IAS) AIDS 2020 Virtual Sessions last week showed men who have sex with men (MSM) are far more likely to avoid or not seek out information nor access to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Unfortunately, this is a long-known issue in HIV care, as the at-risk population often perceives greater hurdles of stigma in their reason for seeking out preventive care.

In an interview with Contagion, Hugh Klein, PhD, study co-author of the PrEP Obstacles Scale, discussed solutions, both clinical and otherwise, in getting MSM adherence to PrEP.

None of the solutions are simple, nor untested thus far.

“As long they perceive stigma, they’re going to be looking for information in private,” Klein explained. “Part of the solution to the dilemma you’re prosing—which is a very real one—is how do you get people more familiar with PrEP, and people who use PrEP?”

Klein observed their research showed very few MSM are familiar with anyone who uses PrEP—but those who were had far few stigmas and false perceptions regarding its use and implication in HIV prevention.

This may mean greater PrEP acceptance may come via HIV community-based outreach and connections.

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