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Few gay men know about evidence for treatment as prevention

Few gay men know about evidence for treatment as prevention

Knowledge about the evidence for treatment as prevention (TasP) among Australian gay men has not been explored in detail. Methods: TAXI-KAB was a national online survey of Australian gay men recruited during late 2012. 897 men responded to questions about knowledge and beliefs about TasP.

Most men were gay (88.9%) or bisexual (8.8%). Mean age was 39 years. 90.1% had ever been tested for HIV; 171 reported being HIV-positive. Over 90% of all men understood that HIV treatments were effective and improved the health prospects of PLHIV, although 46.3% believed that treatments are toxic and will eventually cause long-term damage. 66.3% of men had no knowledge of the trial evidence for TasP among heterosexual couples; 26.0% believed this trial evidence applied to sex between men. Seemingly contradictorily, while the majority (62.7%) believed that HIV transmission was still likely to occur even when an HIV-positive man is on treatments, two thirds (63.7%) nonetheless believed HIV-positive men should go on treatments to protect their partners from infection. HIV-positive men were somewhat better informed about the evidence for TasP, but nearly half (44.2%) had not heard of this. HIV-positive men were less skeptical about TasP, but were as likely to agree they should use treatments to protect their partners as were non HIV-positive men.
Although most gay men recognise that HIV treatments have improved the health prospects for PLHIV, many are also quite pessimistic about their long-term effects. The majority, including nearly half of HIV-positive men, also appear to be unaware of the trial evidence for TasP and are highly skeptical about the possible effects of treatments on reducing HIV transmission during sex between men. Improved understanding among among gay men of the role of, and evidence for, treatment in prevention is critical to community level implementation of combination prevention.

Conference: ASHM 2013

Australian Society for HIV 2013

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