The Influence of Peers on PrEP Perceptions and Use Among Young Black Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Qualitative Examination

Katherine G. Quinn*, Erika Christenson, Antoinette Spector, Yuri Amirkhanian, Jeffrey A. Kelly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a promising part of HIV prevention, yet racial disparities in PrEP uptake persist. Evidence indicates that Black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBM) face numerous social and structural barriers to PrEP, including stigma, medical mistrust, and exclusion from the healthcare system. However, little research has examined how social networks can influence PrEP use and help Black GBM overcome these identified barriers. To understand the influence of peers and social networks on Black GBM’s perceptions of and decisions about PrEP use, we conducted in-depth interviews with 46 Black GBM in Milwaukee, WI and Cleveland, OH. Data were analyzed using multistage inductive coding and thematic content analysis, using MAXQDA software. Results indicate that participants’ primary source of information on PrEP was other Black GBM in their communities. Peers and social networks served three primary functions with regard to PrEP: (1) filling informational gaps left by healthcare providers, (2) increasing trust of PrEP, and (3) reducing PrEP stigma. Participants described the “movers and shakers” in Black LGBT communities who have been influential in educating others and advocating for PrEP. Well-respected vocal advocates for PrEP have emerged in the Black LGBT community as PrEP champions who have successfully influenced young Black GBM’s views on PrEP. Our results reveal the role social networks and peer groups can play in increasing PrEP use among Black GBM. Social network interventions may help overcome the stigma and mistrust that are contributing to PrEP disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2129-2143
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume49
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Keywords

  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Peer support
  • PrEP
  • Racial disparities
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology

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