When presented with the option of different forms of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), men who have sex with men (MSM) have an array of preferences. This suggests that the eventual introduction of new forms of PrEP will help individuals select the option that works best for them.
Currently, the only approved form of PrEP is daily Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine). It will likely not have competition until 2020 or later, when a long-acting injectable form of PrEP may hit the market. A PrEP implant is much farther back in the research pipeline.
Publishing their findings in AIDS Behavior, researchers recruited 512 HIV-negative MSM in 45 U.S. states to participate in an internet survey. The men had a median age of 22; the youngest was 18, and the oldest was 71 years old.
The survey pitted different forms of HIV protection against each other in pairs and asked participants which they preferred. This included condoms, daily PrEP, long-acting PrEP as an injectable and long-acting PrEP as either a visible or non-visible implant. About 90 percent of the men consistently preferred one form of protection regardless of the alternative in the pair.
A total of 33.8 percent preferred condoms, 21.5 percent preferred non-visible implants and 17 percent preferred daily oral PrEP. Those who preferred implants tended to be at greater risk for HIV.
When asked only about the four PrEP options, 35.5 percent preferred daily oral pills, 34.3 percent preferred non-visible implants, 25.2 percent preferred injections and 4.3 percent preferred visible implants.
Commonly cited reasons for preferring a PrEP method were convenience, length of protection and privacy. These reasons were associated with being at risk for HIV.