Background: HIV disproportionately impacts young, black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) who experience disparities across the HIV care continuum. A more nuanced understanding of facilitators and barriers to engagement in care, missed visits, antiretroviral uptake, adherence and viral suppression could improve care and intervention design.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial of an online intervention, healthMpowerment, enrolled 465 YBMSM (18-30 years); 193 identified as HIV-positive. Bivariable and multivariable analyses of baseline data explored predictors of: engagement in care, missed visits, antiretroviral uptake, self-reported adherence, and viral suppression.
Results: Mean age was 24.9 years; most identified as gay (71.0%) and were receiving HIV care (89.1%). Among those in care, 52.1% reported no missed visits in the past 12 months, 41 (24.6%) reported one missed visit, and 39 (23.4%) reported two or more. Having insurance (prevalence odds ratio [POR] 4.5; 95% CI: 1.3, 15.8) and provider self-efficacy (POR 20.1; 95% CI: 6.1, 64.1) were associated with being in care. Those with a college degree (POR 9.1; 95% CI: 1.9, 45.2) and no recent marijuana (POR 2.6; 95% CI: 1.2, 5.6) or methamphetamine use (POR 5.4; 95% CI: 1.0, 28.5) were less likely to miss visits. Most (n = 153, 84.1%) had been prescribed antiretroviral therapy. A majority of participants (70.8%) reported ≥90% adherence; those with depressive symptoms had 4.7 times the odds of reporting adherence <90% (95% CI: 1.65, 13.37). Of participants who reported viral load testing in the past six months, 65% (n = 102) reported an undetectable viral load. Disclosure to sex partners was associated with viral suppression (POR 6.0; 95% CI: 1.6, 22.4).
Conclusions: Multi-level facilitators and barriers to engagement across the continuum of care were identified in this sample of YBMSM. Understanding the distinct needs of YBMSM at each stage of the continuum and addressing them through tailored approaches is critical for long term success in care.