BETA — New research: Awareness, perceived effectiveness of U=U and intermittent PrEP low among MSM in New York City

“Of the 639 men who responded to questions about the effectiveness of various HIV-prevention strategies, only 39% of participants correctly identified that having an undetectable viral load provided “a lot of protection” or “complete protection” from HIV transmission.

More than half of men living with HIV (58%) perceived that having an undetectable viral load prevents HIV transmission (i.e., understood U=U). About half (49%) of HIV-negative men who had taken PrEP before or were currently taking PrEP believed U=U. Of HIV-negative men who had never taken PrEP, less than a third (28%) correctly perceived the effectiveness of U=U.

“Participants were generally aware of TasP [treatment as prevention, or U=U] but also few seemed to believe it would offer adequate and reliable protection against HIV transmission,” said Siegel and Meunier. “It seems that men who more frequently utilize sexual health services are more likely to know of and believe in the effectiveness of TasP. Our study confirms a need to educate men who are not HIV positive and men who do not use PrEP about TasP. Much still needs to be done to promote TasP and make the strategy acceptable among MSM and the general population.”