Publications & Reports

Latent Class Analysis of Sexual Behaviours and Attitudes to Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Gay and Bisexual Men Using PrEP.

Traeger MW, Murphy D, Ryan KE, Asselin J, Cornelisse VJ, Wilkinson AL, Hellard ME, Wright EJ, Stoové MA
Burnet Institute, 85 Commercial Road, Melbourne, VIC, 3181, Australia. [email protected]

Abstract

Gay and bisexual men (GBM) who use pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are at increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) compared to those who don’t use PrEP. Since the implementation of PrEP in Australia, it is possible that attitudes towards STIs have shifted in line with changes in risk and transmission dynamics in the context of increased screening. As the extent to which GBM utilise STI prevention strategies likely depends on their attitudes towards STIs and STI prevention, the aims of this study were to use latent class analysis (LCA) to classify GBM using PrEP on the basis of their attitudes towards STIs and reported risk behaviours, and examine how these categorisations relate to risk of STI acquisition. 1225 GBM who were previously enrolled in a PrEP implementation study (The PrEPX Study) completed a survey focused on sexual behaviours and attitudes towards STIs 1 year post-study follow-up. Data on chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis testing and positivity were available through a sentinel network of participating study clinics. Using LCA, participants were allocated into four classes; Class 1, “Some concern and lowest risk”; Class 2, “Low concern and lower risk”; Class 3, “ High concern and higher risk”; and Class 4, “Low concern and highest risk”. The majority (78%) of participants were classified into Class 3 or Class 4, two groups which were distinguished by highly disparate attitudes towards STIs but with a similar proportion of participants diagnosed with a bacterial STI in the last 12 months (48% and 57%, respectively). Findings suggest that attitudes towards STIs among GBM using PrEP in Australia vary considerably, and this will likely influence their receptivity to different STI prevention strategies.

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