142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

How come I didn't know about PrEP? Voices of perinatally HIV-infected youth in Puerto Rico

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Georgina Silva-Suarez, MPHE , Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, Guaynabo, PR
Silvia Rabionet, EdD , Nova Southeastern University; University of Puerto Rico, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Irma Febo, MD , School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, PR
Elena Bastida, Ph.D , Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Carmen Zorrilla, MD , School of Medicine, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, PR
Background: Perinatally HIV-infected (pHIV-I) young adults are alive due to the successes in antiretroviral therapies (ART) where available. They face the complexity of living with a transmissible disease. The advent of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) can redefine their path to sexually active adults.

Methods:A study using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was conducted to explore the life experiences of pHIV-I youth in Puerto Rico.  Twenty in-depth interviews with 12 women and 8 men aged 18-30 years were conducted and audio-recorded.  Questions about medication meaning, intimate relationships, and knowledge and acceptability of PrEP, were asked.  Data were analyzed using NVIVO.  Interrelationships, connection and patterns were assessed.

Results:Participants are aware of the benefits of ART and equate medication with ‘life’. One of the most stressful situations in their life is dealing with intimate relationships. They know the implications of transmitting HIV, and reported feeling responsible for the wellbeing of their partners.  Only one knew about PrEP.  After a brief explanation, they were excited to know that they could prevent transmission in their partners, but needed more information about side-effects and efficacy.  They are willing to receive clinical information and evaluate its usefulness in conjunction with their partners.

Conclusion:  There is a lack of awareness about PrEP among a population that could highly benefit from it. This could be due to its recent approval.  Perinatally HIV-infected youth can embrace PrEP as a strategy to face the challenges of intimacy.  Programs geared to this population should incorporate current information about PrEP.

Learning Areas:

Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the use of qualitative inquiry to increase the understanding of the HIV epidemic Describe the use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to the study of HIV

Keyword(s): Adolescents, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been working with HIV and related topics for the last 8 years. Currently, I am part of the Puerto Rico Mentoring Institute for HIV and Mental Health Research. The work I am submitting is part of my doctoral dissertation at Florida International University.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.