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We aimed to understand the attitudes, preferences and acceptance of oral and parenteral PrEP among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Thailand. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the use of antiretrovirals to prevent HIV acquisition, has shown promising results in recent trials. To assess the potential impact of this new HIV prevention method, in addition to efficacy data, we need to understand which psychosocial factors are likely to determine its uptake among members of potential user groups. Surveys of willingness to use PrEP products were administered to MSM. Spearman's rank tests were used to uncover associations between questionnaire items. Mann-Whitney tests were performed to ascertain differences between groups. Conjoint analysis was used to examine the attitudes and preferences of MSM towards PrEP attributes. Most participants were willing to consider taking PrEP (39.2% "yes, definitely" and 49.2% "yes, probably") and perceived PrEP as giving them new possibilities in their lives (38.5% "a lot of hope" and 55.8% "some hope"), even after being instructed of potential side effects and costs. HIV testing was considered the most important attribute and a daily pill and longer lasting injection in the arm were the preferred routes of administration. Despite its multiple challenges, MSM in Thailand would be willing to take PrEP, even if they had to experience inconvenience and expense. If PrEP were to be implemented in Thailand, our findings show that its uptake could be considerable.
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... [16][17][18] In 2016, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) called for a rapid scale up of HIV prevention services and set the goal of having 3 million people on PrEP by 2020. 19 However, implementation, scale-up, and uptake of PrEP globally remains slow, with 500 000-cumulative PrEP users as of April 2020,~10% of which are in the Asia-Pacific Region. 20 Globally, inconvenient locations and perceived stigma due to homophobia or transphobia from healthcare providers have been shown to be strong barriers to accessing PrEP and HIV-related services. ...
... 21,22 Across the region, KPs have expressed concerns about the stigma associated with accessing PrEP services from public healthcare providers, and overwhelmingly prefer to access PrEP services from community-based organisations, pharmacies, vending machines or through online assessment and delivery due to convenience and anonymity, rather than hospital services or antiretroviral therapy (ART) clinics. 19,[23][24][25][26][27][28] Community involvement and leadership from KPs such as MSM, TGW, men who have sex with women and transgender sex workers is vital in the implementation of PrEP programs. 29 This suggests that for the successful scaling up and rolling out of PrEP, the reduction of PrEP-associated stigma is essential but not yet sufficient. ...
Article
Despite the challenges to the HIV response in the Asia-Pacific, a demedicalisation of HIV intervention has been demonstrated to be an important strategy to maximise the uptake of HIV prevention tools among key populations in this region. Demedicalisation of HIV interventions translates medical discourse and shifts the paradigm from a disease-focused to a people-centred approach. It also recognises real-life experiences of key populations in the HIV response by empowering them to voice their needs and be at the forefront of the epidemic control. We further categorise a demedicalisation approach into three frameworks: (1) the demystification of clinical or medical concerns; (2) the destigmatisation of people living with HIV; and (3) the decentralisation of healthcare services. This article reviewed the demedicalisation framework by looking at the HIV intervention examples from countries in the Asia-Pacific, which included: (1) a study on drug-drug interaction between pre-exposure prophylaxis and feminising hormone treatment for transgender women; (2) the roles of key population-led health services; and (3) certification of key population lay providers.
... The ultimate cost to PrEP users and the society would vary with the adopted regimen, mode of funding and that of the operation. While this current study captured the attributes of optimal PrEP service for MSM, there are notable hesitancy issues, such as low risk perception, 50 concern of side effects, [51][52][53] and non-adherence to daily regimen, 50,54 which may not be addressed even with an optimal service model. Wider community education is needed to promote awareness of not just PrEP users and health service providers. ...
Article
Background Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an effective means of HIV prevention for men who have sex with men (MSM), a key population whose engagement is crucial for achieving effective public health outcomes. An optimal service model would be important in planning the implementation of PrEP in places where such service has not been established. Methods A qualitative study was conducted to delineate the attributes of an optimal PrEP service model for MSM in Hong Kong, a city where no formal PrEP programs existed. Twenty purposively sampled MSM who were enrollees of two pilot PrEP projects participated in the semi-structured interviews promoting story-telling. The coded data were thematically analyzed following Grounded Theory approach, focusing on uncovering a typology of the essential attributes of an optimal PrEP service model, and the reasons for such preferences. Results Participating MSM were all ethnic Chinese and aged 26 to 52 years. All had received PrEP from pilot projects in conjunction with periodic screening of sexually transmitted infections (STI), HIV antibody, and plasma creatinine. Four major themes emerged as regards the attributes of a preferred PrEP service: (i) comprehensiveness of HIV/STI and safety monitoring; (ii) convenient unitary service; (iii) stigma-free PrEP access and protecting confidentiality; and (iv) affordable price. Whereas regular provision of PrEP was acceptable to MSM, unaffordability and related stigma were the anticipated challenges for potential service providers. Conclusions The qualitative assessment of MSM’s preference for PrEP service delivery has yielded important information on the many facets of a desirable service model.
... Although PrEP clinical trials have included participants from across the globe (answering the question of "how well does PrEP work pharmacologically?"), much of the research on PrEP's implementation has been based on samples from the Global North. There are certainly some notable studies on PrEP from the Global South (Edeza et al., 2019;Hoagland et al., 2017;To & Lee, 2018;Wheelock et al., 2013), though, and we expect this body of research to become more robust in the coming years, especially as PrEP rollout continues in the Caribbean and Latin America (Galea et al., 2018). And, as more individuals adopt PrEP, the pool of potential research participants for PrEP research will expand. ...
Article
In 2012, the U.S. FDA approved the first drug for use as HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), which is nearly 99% effective when taken as prescribed. Although the manifest function of PrEP is to prevent HIV infection in the event of exposure, the drug has also had a significant impact on various facets of sexuality. In this review, we focus on research that emerged in the near decade since PrEP’s approval, with a specific focus on the ways in which different elements of sex and sexuality have been impacted by gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM), cisgender women, and transgender individuals. We highlight evidence showing how PrEP has enhanced sexual self-esteem, improved sexual pleasure, reduced sexual anxiety, and has increased sexual agency for those taking it. For many, PrEP also serves as a gateway to improve routine health and increase sexual health-care utilization. Additionally, we review the question of whether PrEP is associated with increased sexual risk taking (i.e. risk compensation), and note that, although some data are mixed, PrEP is not intended as an intervention to reduce condomless anal sex or STIs: it aims to prevent HIV. Finally, our review highlights that, although the volume of research on PrEP among GBMSM is robust, it is underdeveloped for cisgender women and transgender populations and insufficient for inclusion in such a review for cisgender heterosexual men was. PrEP research with these populations is an important direction for future research. Finally, from 2012 to 2019, a single PrEP formulation and delivery method was FDA approved (oral emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate). As additional drug formulations (ie.g., emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide) and delivery methods (e.g., microbiocides, vaginal ring, injectable) come to market, it will be important to examine how these, too, impact the spectrum of sexuality.
... MSM in our study showed higher interest in daily oral PrEP (62.2%, 342/550) than LAI-PrEP (38.5%, 212/550), which is consistent with some previous studies [41,42]. However, in some other studies, LAI-PrEP was more attractive [14,43]. ...
Article
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This study is aimed at investigating the awareness of and preferences for oral and long-acting injectable HIV preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and their associated factors among men who have sex with men (MSM) at high risk of HIV infection in southern China. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 603 MSM who were recruited through a cohort study called the T2T Study at three sexual health clinics in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Wuxi, China, from 2017 to 2018. We collected information on HIV-negative participants’ awareness of and willingness to use PrEP and its potential correlations. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used for data analyses. A total of 550 HIV-negative MSM were enrolled in the study. Less than half of at-risk MSM (43.1%) had heard of PrEP before, and the rate of overall willingness to use PrEP was 65.8%, while MSM were more willing to use daily oral PrEP than long-acting injectable- (LAI-) PrEP (62.2% vs. 38.5%). MSM who had university degrees or above (aOR=1.55, 95% CI: 1.01-2.37), used condoms during last anal sex (1.52, 1.01-2.29), and tested 3 times or more for HIV (2.45, 1.10-5.47) were more likely to be aware of PrEP. MSM who had use of gay dating apps (1.51, 1.02-2.23), ever participated in HIV- or sexually transmitted disease (STD-) related studies (1.91, 1.24-2.94), and had heard of PrEP (3.06, 2.06-4.54) were more willing to use any regimen of PrEP. MSM at high risk of HIV infection had low awareness of PrEP and moderate willingness to use PrEP. Further studies of the implementation and promotion of PrEP targeting at-risk MSM should be performed.
... They also allow drugs to be administered to dysphagic patients, for example individuals infected with HIV and suffering from opportunistic oesophageal infections 88 . Moreover, there has been some interest in developing long-acting nanoparticles for prevention-including both pre-exposure prophylaxis (which requires long-term administration of two medications to achieve protection) and post-exposure prophylaxis (where administration of a single injection or long-acting oral medication would be especially valuable) 89,90 . Specifically, nanoparticles of two antiretrovirals, cabotegravir and rilpivirine, are being actively pursued in the clinic. ...
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Infectious diseases are a major driver of morbidity and mortality globally. Treatment of malaria, tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus infection are particularly challenging, as indicated by the ongoing transmission and high mortality associated with these diseases. The formulation of new and existing drugs in nano-sized carriers promises to overcome several challenges associated with the treatment of these diseases, including low on-target bioavailability, sub-therapeutic drug accumulation in microbial sanctuaries and reservoirs, and low patient adherence due to drug-related toxicities and extended therapeutic regimens. Further, nanocarriers can be used for formulating vaccines, which represent a major weapon in our fight against infectious diseases. Here we review the current burden of infectious diseases with a focus on major drivers of morbidity and mortality. We then highlight how nanotechnology could aid in improving existing treatment modalities. We summarize our progress so far and outline potential future directions to maximize the impact of nanotechnology on the global population.
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The use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention within the U.S. military is low. Implementing preference-based alternative modalities of PrEP delivery, however, can be an innovative strategy to address the specific barriers to PrEP uptake among military MSM. We sought to identify population-based, segment-specific preferences for longer-acting and alternative PrEP delivery modalities to guide patient-centered strategies to optimize uptake within military-serving healthcare systems. HIV-negative military men who have sex with men (MSM) completed an anonymous, adaptive choice-based conjoint (ACBC) analysis survey consisting of five key attributes of interest (dosing method, provider type, visit location, lab work evaluation location, and dispensing venue). Relative importance and part-worth utility scores were generated using Hierarchical Bayes (HB) estimation, and cluster ensemble analysis grouped participants into “phenotype” segments by preference similarity. The randomized first-choice model was then used to examine changes in program interest rates among segments through market simulation. The 429 participants were segmented into five preference groups. The dosing method attribute was found to be the most important to nearly all segments. Simulations revealed that PrEP program interest among two segments with low interest levels increased when smartphone, civilian-based, and long-acting injectable PrEP options were involved. Findings also suggested a need for clinics to be responsive and sensitive to sexual practices, risk perception, and functional PrEP knowledge. Responsiveness to segment-specific preferences in the design of military PrEP programs and acting on the importance of clinical relationships within the context of PrEP engagement within a military setting may contribute to increasing PrEP uptake.
Article
Background HIV disproportionately affects young Thai men who have sex with men (YMSM). Recent studies report a high incidence and prevalence of HIV among Thai YMSM. The Thai national guidelines have recommended pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) since 2014 for key populations; free PrEP has been piloted since 2019. Smartphone-based mobile health (mHealth) interventions provide an optimal platform for innovative PrEP adherence interventions for Thai YMSM. Objective This study aims to adapt the P3 (Prepared, Protected, emPowered) app, developed with YMSM and transwomen in the United States to improve PrEP adherence and persistence for YMSM in Thailand. The app aims to provide daily adherence support and addresses gaps in staff available for large-scale PrEP rollout needed to see population-level effects of HIV prevention. Methods We conducted focus group discussions (FGDs) with YMSM and key informant interviews (KIIs) with PrEP care providers in Bangkok, Thailand, to investigate PrEP adherence facilitators and barriers, preferences for functions and features in mHealth apps among YMSM, and how to best adapt the P3 app to the Thai context. We conducted four FGDs with 4-8 participants per group and 15 KIIs. Results For FGDs, 23 YMSM participated with a mean age of 20 years (range 18-21), 96% (22/23) enrolled in full-time education, and all owned smartphones. The mean age of KII participants was 40 (range 26-60) years; most were state health service providers, with the majority being counselors (6/15, 40%) and physicians (6/15, 40%). Overall, the facilitators and barriers for PrEP adherence identified were similar to those of MSM and YMSM globally including the United States. Key themes included general recommendations for improving mHealth apps in Thailand, such as presenting reliable information in an appealing format, minimizing privacy risks, and addressing connectivity challenges. Additional themes focused on P3 Thailand adaptations and were related to cultural and stylistic preferences, engagement strategies, and recommendations for new functions. To develop the adapted app, P3 Thailand, these findings were balanced with resource limitations resulting in the prioritization of minor modifications: changes in app esthetics (color scheme, iconography, and imagery) and changes in the presentation of information in two of the app’s features. FGDs identified similar PrEP adherence facilitators and barriers to those already addressed within the app. Conclusions The core elements of the P3 app address major PrEP facilitators and barriers for Thai YMSM; however, changes to the app features, including stylistic presentation, were needed to appropriately customize the app to the Thai context. Given the similarities of facilitators and barriers for PrEP adherence globally, adapting existing PrEP mHealth solutions based on input from end users and key informants provides a promising approach. However, partnerships with local app designers and developers can improve the adaptation process and final product. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04413708; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04413708
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Background: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, but its use remains low among U.S. military men who have sex with men (MSM), likely due to mis-matching with personal preferences. We conducted a study to characterize preferences to PrEP measures within this population. Methods: HIV-negative military MSM were recruited through a closed, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) military social media group. The survey was anonymous, and consisted of five experimentally varied attributes in service delivery: dosing method, provider type, visit location, lab work evaluation location, and dispensing venue. Relative importance and part-worth utility scores were generated using hierarchical bayes (HB) estimation, and the randomized first choice model was used to examine participation interest across eight possible PrEP program scenarios. Results: A total of 429 participants completed the survey. Among the eight scenarios with varying attributes, the most preferred scenario featured a daily tablet, PrEP injection or implant, along with a military provider, smartphone/telehealth visit, and on-base locations for lab evaluation and medication pick-up. The results also emphasized the importance for providers to be familiar with PrEP prescription knowledge, and to provide interactions sensitive to sexual identity and mental health. Conclusion: A PrEP program consisting of daily tablet is preferred in military healthcare settings is preferred. Long-acting implants and injections are also desired.
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Background. The use of oral antiretrovirals to prevent HIV infection among HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM) has been shown to be safe and efficacious. A large, randomised, placebo-controlled trial showed a 44% reduction in the incidence of HIV infection among MSM receiving a daily oral fixed-dose combination of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine (Truvada) in combination with an HIV prevention package. Improved protection was seen with higher levels of adherence. Aim. The purpose of this guideline is to: (i) explain what pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is; (ii) outline current indications for its use; (iii) outline steps for appropriate client selection; and (iv) provide guidance for monitoring and maintaining clients on PrEP. Method. PrEP is indicated for HIV-negative MSM who are assessed to be at high risk for HIV acquisition and who are willing and motivated to use PrEP as part of a package of HIV prevention services (including condoms, lubrication, sexually transmitted infection (STI) management and risk reduction counselling). Recommendations. HIV testing, estimation of creatinine clearance and STI and hepatitis B screening are recommended as baseline investigations. Daily oral Truvada, along with adherence support, can then be prescribed for eligible MSM. PrEP should not be given to MSM with abnormal renal function, nor to clients who are unmotivated to use PrEP as part of an HIV prevention package; nor should it be commenced during an acute viral illness. Three-monthly follow-up visits to assess tolerance, renal function, adherence and ongoing eligibility is recommended. Six-monthly STI screens and annual creatinine levels to estimate creatinine clearance are recommended. Hepatitis B vaccination should be provided to susceptible clients. Gastro-intestinal symptoms and weight loss are common side-effects, mostly experienced for the first 4 - 8 weeks after initiating PrEP. There is a risk of the development of antiretroviral resistance among those with undiagnosed acute HIV infection during PrEP initiation and among those with sub-optimal adherence who become HIV infected while on PrEP. Risk compensation (increasing sexual behaviours that can result in exposure to HIV) while on PrEP may become a concern, and clinicians should continue to support MSM clients to continue to use condoms, condom-compatible lubrication and practice safer sex. Research is ongoing to assess optimum dosing regimens, potential long-term effects and alternative PrEP medications. Recommendations for the use of PrEP among other at-risk individuals, and the components of these recommendations, will be informed by future evidence.
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