Availability of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Related Sexual Health Information on PrEP Provider Websites in the U.S. Open Access

Duncan, Sara (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/jh343t351?locale=en


Background: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a once-daily pill shown to reduce the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection by up to 92%. Unfortunately, uptake, although increasing, remains low. Significant barriers to PrEP uptake include inadequate access to and knowledge about PrEP. Accurate and reliable knowledge about PrEP and HIV are key components in facilitating the behavior change necessary for PrEP uptake. PrEP provider websites are powerful, yet underutilized, tools in conveying required knowledge to catalyze PrEP uptake. This study describes the availability of information about PrEP and related sexual health topics on confirmed PrEP provider websites in the U.S. 

Methods: Using PrEP Locator, a national sample of 510 confirmed PrEP provider websites was randomly selected and reviewed from November 2018 to February 2019. Data collected from each website were divided into three main categories: practice characteristics, practice demographics, and website content. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and bivariate analysis performed to assess associations between provider characteristics and website content. Chi-square tests were used to evaluate significance of associations.

Results: Approximately half (n=270; 52.9%) of PrEP provider websites reviewed mentioned PrEP on their websites, with only 9.6% mentioning it on their homepages. Thirty-eight percent included educational information about PrEP. Only 30% of the final sample included educational information for both PrEP and HIV. While mentioning HIV, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ), confidentiality, inclusivity, and post-exposure prophylaxis were all positively associated with mentioning PrEP, only 40.0%, 39.2 %, 35.1%, and 31.4% mentioned confidentiality, LGBTQ, inclusivity, and post-exposure prophylaxis, respectively. Including provider photographs or profiles was negatively associated with both mentioning PrEP and including PrEP educational information on provider websites.

Conclusions: Because the Internet is where most individuals start their searches for health care providers, ensuring that appropriate information about PrEP and related topics is available on PrEP providers’ websites may be an important factor in an individual’s decision to contact a clinic. Our findings suggest room for improvement on the part of PrEP providers to more effectively utilize their existing practice websites to both confirm provision of PrEP and provide accurate educational information about PrEP and related topics. 

Table of Contents

Abstract 1

Introduction 3

Methods 5

Results 7

Discussion 10

References 14

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