Discrimination, HIV conspiracy theories and pre-exposure prophylaxis acceptability in gay men

Jolley, D. and Jaspal, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-8463-9519, 2020. Discrimination, HIV conspiracy theories and pre-exposure prophylaxis acceptability in gay men. Sexual Health, 17 (6), pp. 525-533. ISSN 1448-5028

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Background: Combination prevention, which includes PrEP, is essential for achieving the zero HIV infections target in the UK by 2030. It is important to assess attitudes towards PrEP in at risk-populations. This study focuses on the impact of discrimination and HIV conspiracy theorising on attitudes towards PrEP in gay men in the UK.

Methods: 244 White British gay men completed a survey that included demographic questions, and measures of sexual health screening, hypervigilance, sexual orientation discrimination, quality of contact with healthcare professionals, belief in conspiracy theories, and attitudes towards PrEP. Data were analysed using multiple linear regression and mediation analysis.

Results: Discrimination was positively correlated with HIV conspiracy beliefs and negatively correlated with PrEP acceptance. Mediation analyses demonstrated that the relationship between discrimination and attitudes towards PrEP was explained by HIV conspiracy theorising. Gay men who had attended a sexual health screen (vs. never attended) reported higher belief in HIV conspiracy theories. A further mediation analysis showed that reported poor contact with a healthcare professional was associated with an increased belief in HIV conspiracy theories, which was associated with negative attitudes towards PrEP. Both perceived discrimination and poor contact with a healthcare professional were exacerbated by hypervigilance.

Conclusions: HIV conspiracy theorising is an important variable in understanding attitudes towards PrEP among gay men. Its roots are in adverse social experiences (e.g. discrimination, poor contact with healthcare professionals) and its consequences may be the rejection of PrEP. HIV prevention and PrEP campaigns must focus on prejudice reduction and challenging conspiracy beliefs.

Item Type: Journal article
Alternative Title: Discrimination, HIV conspiracy theories and PrEP [running head]
Publication Title: Sexual Health
Creators: Jolley, D. and Jaspal, R.
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Date: 21 December 2020
Volume: 17
Number: 6
ISSN: 1448-5028
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 04 Dec 2020 09:23
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:07
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/41760

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