Assessing the Role of Gay Community Attachment, Stigma, and PrEP Stereotypes on Young Men Who Have Sex With Men's PrEP Uptake

Abstract [from journal]

Negative stereotypes about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) hinder PrEP uptake among young men who have sex with men (YMSM). Prior research suggests community homophobia may be linked to negative PrEP attitudes. Conversely, individuals with high gay community attachments (GCA) may have more access to credible PrEP information/resources. Among 285 YMSM recruited online, we estimated structural equation models to test competing conceptual models that inform pathways from perceived stigmas, GCA, and negative PrEP stereotype endorsements to PrEP uptake. In Model A, perceived stigma was directly associated with PrEP uptake, partially mediated by stereotype endorsement (β = - 0.05; 95% CI [- 0.09, - 0.01]) and GCA (β = - 0.06; 95% CI [- 0.11, 0.02]). In Model B, perceived stigma was associated with PrEP uptake (β = - 0.07; 95% CI [- 0.14, - 0.01]) through stereotype endorsement among high GCA YMSM. Complemented by anti-stigma initiatives, PrEP outreach for YMSM should utilize sex-positive messaging and disentangle negative PrEP stereotypes within gay-centric social spaces.