Theses Doctoral

Motivations to either accept or reject pre-exposure prophylaxis: awareness, beliefs, and risk perceptions among African American women in New York City

Robinson Davis, Suzanne

The world has suffered immensely and disproportionately from the ravages of HIV and AIDS. Oral PrEP is a single pill taken once daily that can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV infection by up to 92% (CDC, 2014a).
This study describes African American females’ awareness, beliefs, and perception of PrEP and identifies factors that may motivate women to either accept or reject PrEP. This cross-sectional study occurred over a 3-month period from November 2017 to January 2018, following from a previous pilot study. The sample comprised African American women aged 18 and over receiving STD or HIV screening services at a FQHC in Brooklyn, New York. Women were interviewed using the five characteristics of the Diffusion of Innovation theory and also completed a risk assessment for HIV using CDC recommended guidelines for screening heterosexual women for PrEP.
Awareness of PrEP remained extremely low among the 72 African American women interviewed in the study. Using the CDC guidelines, all women reported one or more risk factors for PrEP indication. Awareness about PrEP, negative reactions from partners and shared experiences from female PrEP users were cited as factors that may predict and motivate African American women to use PrEP. Additionally, skills in pill-taking, cost and insurance, and maintaining privacy while using PrEP were strong enabling factors to support PrEP use. Factors such as initiating couple’s PrEP use as an intervention, medical doctors overtly directing PrEP for women, and the role of older women in promoting PrEP use were persuasive factors in reinforcing the utilization of PrEP among African American women in the study.
Creative programming within high burden communities is critically important to penetrate with messages of new innovations and best practices. The results of the current research speak volumes to the continued work needed to educate communities with prevention messages.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Health and Behavior Studies
Thesis Advisors
Basch, Charles E.
Aidala, Angela A.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 10, 2018