Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is an effective human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention medication taken after exposure, yet it is not widely used in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) community. Understanding its acceptability is vital, given this population's increased risk for contracting HIV. Drawing from the Health Literacy Skills Framework and the Theory of Planned Behavior, this study provides an examination of PEP-related awareness and knowledge, as well as intention to request and use PEP. Using a cross-sectional survey design, a convenience sample of 131 LGBTQ+ college students from a Southeastern university was recruited through email and social media. Survey responses were analyzed using chi-square tests, t-tests, and logistic regression to identify factors associated with PEP. Findings indicate that awareness of PEP was significantly related to race, prior HIV-related discussions with providers, previous HIV testing, use of student health services, health literacy, and general health knowledge. To test knowledge, those indicating PEP awareness were asked further questions. However, very few respondents provided correct responses. Intention to request a PEP prescription was significantly related to normative and control beliefs, with intention being more likely among those who anticipate less stigma and those who had prior HIV-related discussions with a provider. Intention to take PEP was significantly related to normative beliefs, with intention being more likely among those who anticipate less stigma and perceive greater acceptance from others. Overall, these results provide partial support for the relevance of the Health Literacy Skills Framework and the Theory of Planned Behavior in understanding factors related to PEP. Future research is needed to more fully document lack of knowledge and identify predictors of knowledge deficits. Health and human service systems can utilize these findings when selecting strategies to increase PEP awareness and usage, in hopes of reducing HIV transmission and its related negative impacts.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Health Professions and Sciences
School of Public Administration
Public Affairs; Social Work
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Forgetta, Shayna, "An Examination of Factors Associated with LGBTQ+ College Students' Adoption of Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) as an HIV Prevention Method" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 679.