Perceptions and attitudes about preexposure prophylaxis among seronegative partners and the potential of sexual disinhibition

South Med J. 2013 Oct;106(10):558-64. doi: 10.1097/SMJ.0000000000000010.


Objectives: Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a promising strategy to prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, especially among high-risk individuals such as seronegative partners; however, many caveats such as the potential risk of sexual disinhibition and noncompliance need to be considered. We explored the sociodemographic and behavioral factors associated with the adoption of PrEP among HIV seronegative men who have sex with men and heterosexual partners.

Methods: A prepiloted self-administered survey was conducted among seronegative partners in a Ryan White HIV/AIDS Clinic in South Carolina from 2010 to 2011. Bivariate and multivariable analyses were used to explore the data.

Results: The survey was completed by 89 seronegative partners. The median age was 42 years (interquartile range 32-50) and a majority was men (56%), black (70%), and heterosexual (74%). A majority (94%) was willing to use PrEP if available; however, 26% of subjects suggested that they would be more likely to have unprotected sex with an HIV-positive partner while using PrEP, and 27% suggested that it would be difficult to take a daily dose of PrEP and consistently use condoms. The multivariable results suggest that the belief that a condom is no longer needed while taking PrEP was more likely among those who did not use a condom during their last sexual intercourse (adjusted odds ratio 7.45; 95% confidence interval 1.57-35.45) and among those with a higher HIV knowledge score (adjusted odds ratio 0.43; 95% confidence interval 0.23-0.78).

Conclusions: Overall, these results suggest high acceptability of PrEP among seronegative partners to lower the risk of HIV transmission; however, there is a substantial risk of sexual disinhibition and noncompliance while using PrEP that may be reduced by ongoing education.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Condoms
  • Culture
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Heterosexuality
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self Report
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • South Carolina
  • Unsafe Sex / psychology*
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-HIV Agents