The Perceptions, Accessibility, and Use of PrEP and PEP as an HIV transmission inhibitor tool among MSM College Students

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Phuntling, Hermon
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
Objective: The study assesses the perceptions, accessibility, and use of PrEP and PEP as an HIV transmission inhibitor tool among MSM College Students. The objective of this study is to understand the knowledge, perception, opinion, accessibility, and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) among college-enrolled MSMs, and how they may experience barriers to these treatments. The research aims to alleviate the gap of LGBT+ health disparities among students that may be present by uncovering the quality of the campus climate around HIV prevention. Methods: The research consisted of convenience and snowball-style sampling to carry out 22 semi-structured interviews and 1 focus group, consisting of 9 community members. The target population group for this study is men who have sex with men who are over 18 years of age and are enrolled at a university/college located in the Middle Tennessee region. The age of participants ranged from 18 – 28 years of age. Results: There is a disparity between the actual accessibility of PrEP and PEP and the knowledge/awareness of PrEP and PEP availability at on-campus clinics. Within the clinics, the experience of LGBT+ individuals are overall positive, yet subjects also express concerns of inadequate services and lack of health education from healthcare professionals. There does exist adequate knowledge of PrEP, but low knowledge of PEP among MSMs. There are low concerns of HIV prevention and usage of preventative tools, including PrEP and PEP, in the sample population. There are many reasons that subjects report not using the prophylaxes, such as lack of interest, exclusive partnership, frequent HIV testing, lack of LGBT doctors, lack of worry for HIV contraction, and expensive costs. Conclusion: In age cohorts often reporting frequent sexual activity, sexual health is very important for individuals, organizations, and health establishments. Due to modern technological and pharmaceutical advances, prescription medicine can assist in lowering HIV infection rates, especially for the MSM populations. Yet, LGBT+ health disparities still exist, especially for MSM college students, that should be addressed and alleviated. More effective education, wider accessibility, more health service outreach, infrastructure improvements, lower costs, and support of governmental policies are all vital to decreasing morbidity and mortality rates in this important subgroup within the LGBT+ community.
MSM, perceptions, accessibility, use, PREP, PEP, HIV, HIV prevention