FRIDAY, July 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A considerable proportion of men who have sex with men (MSM), who are eligible for HIV preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), live in locations with no nearby PrEP provider, according to a study published online July 18 in the American Journal of Public Health.

Aaron J. Siegler, Ph.D., from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues sourced publicly listed PrEP providers and obtained county-level urbanicity classification and population estimates of MSM from public data. Travel time was calculated from census tract to the nearest PrEP provider. A census tract was classified as a PrEP desert if one-way driving time was greater than 30 or 60 minutes.

The researchers found that 13 percent of PrEP-eligible MSM lived in 30-minute-drive deserts, and 5 percent lived in 60-minute-drive deserts. Increased odds of PrEP desert status were seen in association with location in the South and lower urbanicity.

“These findings highlight the magnitude of geographic disparities in access to PrEP for HIV,” the authors write. “Applying these geographic methods to other important public health issues can highlight deserts with limited access to care or prevention services, as well as inform where resources are geographically targeted to address these gaps.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the Gilead Foundation.

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