Preference for using a variety of future HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis products among men who have sex with men in three US cities

Gordon Mansergh, Krishna Kiran Kota, Rob Stephenson, Sabina Hirshfield, Patrick Sullivan
Journal of the International AIDS Society 2021, 24 (1): e25664

BACKGROUND: Daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is available and recommended for men who have sex with men (MSM) at risk for HIV infection. Other HIV prevention products are being developed, including long-acting injectable (LAI) and event-based oral and topical formulations. Understanding preferences for potential products by MSM can help direct further development of prevention messaging.

METHODS: We present baseline data from HIV-negative participants enrolled in the US Mobile Messaging for Men (M-cubed) Study. Participants were asked their likelihood of and rank order preference for using daily oral PrEP and various potential prevention products (one- to -three-month injections, 2-1-1 sexual event oral dosing, anal or penile gel, or anal suppository), and their sociodemographic characteristics. Bivariate and multivariable logistics regression assessed demographic associations with likelihood of use and rank order preference.

RESULTS: Overall, most MSM reported a likelihood of using LAI (74%), sexual event-based pills (67%) and penile gel (64%). Men who reported recent unprotected (condomless and PrEPless) anal sex most preferred a penile gel formulation (74%), followed closely by LAI and event-based pills (73% each). Current PrEP users (vs. non-users) had greater odds of reporting likelihood to use LAI (AOR = 3.29, 95% CI = 2.12 to 5.11), whereas men reporting recent unprotected anal sex had a greater odds of likelihood to use a penile gel (AOR = 1.79, 95% CI = 1.27 to 2.52) and an anal suppository (AOR = 1.48, 95% CI = 1.08 to 2.02). Hispanic/Latino (vs. White) MSM (AOR = 2.29, 95% CI = 1.40 to 3.73) and, marginally, Black MSM (AOR = 1.54, 95% CI = 1.00 to 2.38) had greater odds of reporting likelihood to use penile gel. Similar patterns were found for rank ordering preference of products, including condoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Most MSM were interested in using various potential future HIV prevention products, especially LAI. However, two typologies of potential users emerged: men who prefer sexual event-based methods (condoms, event-based pill, sexual gels and suppositories) and men who prefer non-sexual event-based methods (daily pill, LAI). Men who reported recent unprotected anal sex preferred a penile gel product most, followed closely by sexual event-based pills and LAI. Racial/ethnic differences were noted as well. These findings on product preferences can help in formulation development and messaging.

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