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Those at High Risk Know about PrEP but Use Remains low

Results from the study highlight the importance of PrEP education in clinical settings.

A recent study conducted by investigators from the Rutgers School of Public Health's Center for Health has found that despite individuals at high risk for HIV knowing about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), few are currently taking it.

These populations are 2 of the most impacted by HIV according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Results from the study were published in the journal Aids and Behavior.

"It was surprising that so few participants were using PrEP, but we were happy to see that there were no racial or ethnic disparities in who was using it," Caleb LoSchiavo, co-author on the study said. "I think the study results point to the effectiveness of local efforts to increase the use of PrEP for those who need it most."

For the study, the team of investigators conducted a survey of 202 young, sexual minority men and transgender women to try and gain an understanding as to why some individuals were more likely to take PrEP than others.

Findings from the study demonstrated that 98% of the participants from the study were aware of PrEP, however, less than 25% were currently taking it.

Additional findings showed that there were racial and ethnic differences in certain factors associated with the use of PrEP. While white participants likelihood of using PrEP increased with age, participants of color were more likely to take the therapy if they were given information by a healthcare provider and if they had positive beliefs about using it.

"Our study highlights the importance of clinicians in expanding the use of HIV prevention methods like PrEP among those who need it most, both through informing their patients about PrEP and through combating stigmatizing beliefs about PrEP use," Perry N. Halkitis, senior author on the study said.