A new study has revealed something quite surprising – 60% of gay and bisexual men don’t know what PrEP is.
This was discovered by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, who not only found that a huge chunk of gay and bisexual men are unware of PrEP, a third of primary healthcare providers didn’t know about it, either.
As concerning as those two findings are, the more alarming thing that this study discovered was that numerous men who had recently been treated for an STD were still unaware of what PrEP does.
If you’re unware, PrEP – properly called pre-exposure prophylaxis – is a medication which can completely remove your chance of catching HIV and has a success rate of 99%.
The study, which was conducted by the Johns Hopkins hospital, demonstrated a concerning lack of understanding of sexual diseases in America.
While the lack of knowledge in such a large portion of gay and bisexual men is worrying,what’s the bigger concern is the lack of awareness from healthcare providers. It is down to providers to properly educate and inform appropriate patients of the medications available to them, and such a lack of knowledge is undoubtedly partially responsible for the unawareness among men.
Epidemiologist Julia Raifman from John Hopkins’ School of Public Health, had this to say: “It is likely that primary-care providers are missing opportunities to discuss and provide PrEP for patients at risk of HIV.”
The study also found that the most at-risk demographics, such as African-American gay community, knew the least about PrEP. Once they had been informed, six in ten said that they would consider the medication.
They also discovered that only 5% of men in high risk groups use PrEP.
It’s clear that there is a serious lack of education among potential patients, and the healthcare providers themselves. When PrEP is such an effective way of preventing the spread of HIV, to have such a lack in this area is truly irresponsible.