Young Black MSM (YBMSM) are at critically high and disproportionate HIV risk. Reducing HIV incidence rates among YBMSM will likely require increased adoption of additional strategies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a FDA approved medication for HIV that also prevents HIV transmission when taken appropriately. Interventions are needed to address potential individual, social/cultural, and structural barriers to uptake and adherence of PrEP among YBMSM to help curb HIV infections. Our preliminary research suggests that some YBMSM feel concerned that PrEP is not effective or may be toxic, about being stigmatized for having HIV if they take PrEP, as well as concerns about access and side effects. Therefore, we propose ?PrEP-Talk?, an intervention that will use a PrEP Counselor (PC) who can provide information and guidance to YBMSM with the inclusion of a close friend (CF) to support PrEP uptake and adherence. In order to address these critical and timely issues, we developed the following specific aims: 1. To develop and manualize ?PrEP-Talk,? which aims to increase PrEP uptake and adherence among YBMSM. This will be done through qualitative formative research (3 focus groups with 12-18 YBMSM and CF dyads, N=24-36); partnering with a community advisory board (comprised of individuals knowledgeable about HIV work with YBMSM); and field tests of the intervention with 5 YBMSM and CF dyads (N=10). 2. Examine feasibility, acceptability and indicators of preliminary efficacy of ?PrEP- Talk? on PrEP uptake and adherence among YBMSM. This will be accomplished through a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) with 30 dyads (YBMSM and CFs) in the intervention and 30 dyads in the control (N=120). We will conduct assessments at baseline, 3-months and 6-months post-baseline. We will also assess PrEP uptake supportive communication at each intervention session and collect urine samples to measure a biomarker of PrEP uptake (initial adherence) from all YBMSM who report use of PrEP. This proposed study is significant because our intervention may increase PrEP uptake and adherence, which may help to reduce HIV incidence among YBMSM. If the proposed intervention shows promise, we will prepare to undertake a full-scale R01-funded RCT.

Public Health Relevance

Young Black MSM (YBMSM) are at critically high risk for HIV infection. Reducing HIV rates among YBMSM will likely require increased adoption of biomedical HIV prevention strategies such as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis---a medication that prevents HIV transmission), since other strategies (such as condom use promotion and HIV testing) have not been sufficient. Interventions to address barriers to PrEP uptake, such as our proposed PrEP-Talk, are urgently needed in order for PrEP to effectively lower HIV rates in this population, and address this critical public health disparity.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Planning Grant (R34)
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HIV/AIDS Intra- and Inter-personal Determinants and Behavioral Interventions Study Section (HIBI)
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Allison, Susannah
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California State University-Dominguez Hills
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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