Online Program

Sex Partner Disclosure of Biomedical Prevention Use on Mobile Apps: How Often Does Disclosure Occur and Does it Result in Condomless Sex?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Michael E. Newcomb, Ph.D., Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Brian Mustanski, PhD, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Background: Men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV in the U.S. Recent advances in biomedical prevention, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and viral suppression among HIV+ individuals, has shown promise in curbing HIV incidence. We know little about how MSM make decisions about condom use with partners using biomedical prevention strategies. Methods: Data were taken from 622 adult MSM recruited via a mobile geo-social network application. Participants were all HIV-/unknown serostatus. Participants completed a brief survey that included questions assessing partner disclosure of PrEP and viral suppression on mobile apps and sexual behaviors with those partners. Results: A majority (69.1%) reported ever having a partner disclose undetectable viral load on a mobile app, and 44.4% reported partner disclosure of PrEP use. Of these, 68.5% reported a potential partner with undetectable viral load requested condomless sex, and 72.3% reported a partner on PrEP requested condomless sex. Sizable proportions met up with and had condomless sex at least once with partners who disclosed undetectable viral load (21.1%) or PrEP use (14.0%). Conclusions: These analyses provide novel data assessing disclosure of biomedical prevention to potential sex partners on mobile apps and subsequent sexual behavior with these partners. It is encouraging that MSM are disclosing biomedical prevention to their partners. However, it is potentially concerning that many MSM respondents were willing to trust these partners by engaging in condomless sex with individuals on biomedical prevention. Combination strategies (e.g., biomedical prevention and condom use) are most effective at preventing HIV transmission.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe frequency with which potential sex partners disclose biomedical treatment as prevention (TasP) use (e.g., undetectable viral load among HIV+ individuals and pre-exposure prophylaxis [PrEP]) on mobile apps among MSM. Assess how often TasP disclosures result in actual condomless sex among MSM. Discuss recommendations for public health messaging with regard to safer sex behavior with partners with undetectable viral load or on PrEP, emphasizing combination prevention approaches.

Keyword(s): HIV Risk Behavior, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conduct research on health disparities in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth that focuses on identifying the factors that confer risk for a variety of health disparities in this population. My specific interests include sexual risk behavior in young men who have sex with men, substance use, mental health, and factors that promote resilience (e.g., romantic couples, family relationships). I have been PI or Co-I of multiple federally funded grants focusing on these issues.
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.