Young black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) in the USA represent a subgroup that has the highest HIV incidence among the overall population. In the USA, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an effective prevention intervention to prevent HIV acquisition when taken regularly. Neighbourhood and network factors may relate to PrEP awareness, but have not been studied in YBMSM. This study aimed to examine the relationship of neighbourhood and network characteristics with PrEP awareness among YBMSM.
We used data collected from a sample of 618 YBMSM in Chicago (2013–2014). Home addresses were collected for participants and enumerated network members. Administrative data (eg, 2014 American Community Survey, Chicago Department of Public Health) were used to describe residence characteristics. Network member characteristics were also collected (eg, sexual partners’ sex-drug use, confidant network members who were also MSM). Multilevel analysis was performed to examine the relationships of neighbourhood and network characteristics to PrEP awareness.
Higher neighbourhood-level educational attainment (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.02, p=0.03) and greater primary care density (aOR 1.38, p=0.01) were associated with greater PrEP awareness; greater neighbourhood alcohol outlet density (aOR 0.52, p=0.004) was associated with less PrEP awareness. Sexual network members residing in the same neighbourhood as the participants (aOR 2.58, p=0.03) and discussions around avoiding HIV acquisition with confidants (aOR 2.26, p=0.04) were associated with greater PrEP awareness.
The results suggest that neighbourhood and network characteristics can influence PrEP awareness in YBMSM. Additional studies are needed to understand the influences of neighbourhood (eg, MSM serving venues) and network (eg, peer to peer communication) characteristics on dissemination of PrEP information, uptake and adherence and the related mechanisms behind the associations.