WEDNESDAY, June 29, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Male couples underestimate the effectiveness of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care.

Rob Stephenson, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined individual, partner, and relationship characteristics associated with PrEP stigma and perceived efficacy of PrEP. Analysis included online survey results from 375 U.S. cisgender male couples in which at least one partner was HIV negative.

The researchers found that while the majority of participants (62.6 percent) rated PrEP as very effective, the average stigma score was about 21 of 25, indicating a high level of PrEP-related stigma. High-risk behaviors at the individual and partner level, including substance use, binge drinking, and higher number of condomless casual sex partners, were associated with lower levels of both PrEP stigma and belief in the efficacy of PrEP. There was an association observed between networks that supported PrEP use and decreased PrEP stigma and increased belief in PrEP efficacy.

“Stigma-informed PrEP interventions for couples should be considered foundational to the success of the United States’ Ending the HIV Epidemic campaign,” the authors write.

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