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PLoS One ; 17(5): e0268063, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1910629


BACKGROUND: There is a critical need to identify the drivers of willingness to receive new vaccines against emerging and epidemic diseases. A discrete choice experiment is the ideal approach to evaluating how individuals weigh multiple attributes simultaneously. We assessed the degree to which six attributes were associated with willingness to be vaccinated among university students in Uganda. METHODS: We conducted a single-profile discrete choice experiment at Makerere University in 2019. Participants were asked whether or not they would be vaccinated in 8 unique scenarios where attributes varied by disease risk, disease severity, advice for or against vaccination from trusted individuals, recommendations from influential figures, whether the vaccine induced indirect protection, and side effects. We calculated predicted probabilities of vaccination willingness using mixed logistic regression models, comparing health professional students with all other disciplines. FINDINGS: Of the 1576 participants, 783 (49.8%) were health professional students and 685 (43.5%) were female. Vaccination willingness was high (78%), and higher among health students than other students. We observed the highest vaccination willingness for the most severe disease outcomes and the greatest exposure risks, along with the Minister of Health's recommendation or a vaccine that extended secondary protection to others. Mild side effects and recommendations against vaccination diminished vaccination willingness. INTERPRETATION: Our results can be used to develop evidence-based messaging to encourage uptake for new vaccines. Future vaccination campaigns, such as for COVID-19 vaccines in development, should consider acknowledging individual risk of exposure and disease severity and incorporate recommendations from key health leaders.

COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases, Emerging , Vaccines , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Students , Uganda , Universities , Vaccination
Arch Sex Behav ; 51(1): 303-314, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1838357


Prior research has highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV prevention services within the U.S., but few studies have explored this impact through an exploratory, qualitative lens. In this study, we sought to highlight the voices of young sexual minority men (YSMM) 17-24 years old and explored the perceived impact of the pandemic on HIV prevention among a diverse, nationwide sample of YSMM who participated in synchronous online focus group discussions between April and September 2020. Forty-one YSMM described the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV testing and prevention services, including limited and disrupted access to HIV testing, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and HIV post-exposure prophylaxis. COVID-19-related challenges were compounded by ongoing, pre-COVID-19 barriers experienced by YSMM in the U.S. For instance, many YSMM relocated back home with family, causing men to avoid HIV prevention services for fear of outing themselves to relatives. YSMM also worried about placing their family at increased risk of COVID-19 by attending clinical appointments. YSMM who did seek HIV prevention services, including access to PrEP, experienced significant barriers, including limited appointment availability and services not tailored to YSMM. Further efforts are needed to support YSMM re-engaging in HIV prevention during and after the COVID-19 era.

COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Adolescent , Adult , Focus Groups , HIV Infections/diagnosis , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/prevention & control , HIV Testing , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0249740, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403293


BACKGROUND: Central to measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV is understanding the role of loss of access to essential HIV prevention and care services created by clinic and community-based organization closures. In this paper, we use a comprehensive list of HIV prevention services in four corridors of the US heavily impacted by HIV, developed as part of a large RCT, to illustrate the potential impact of service closure on LGBTQ+ youth. METHODS: We identified and mapped LGBTQ+ friendly services offering at least one of the following HIV-related services: HIV testing; STI testing; PrEP/PEP; HIV treatment and care; and other HIV-related services in 109 counties across four major interstate corridors heavily affected by HIV US Census regions: Pacific (San Francisco, CA to San Diego, CA); South-Atlantic (Washington, DC to Atlanta, GA); East-North-Central (Chicago, IL to Detroit, MI); and East-South-Central (Memphis, TN to New Orleans, LA). RESULTS: There were a total of 831 LGBTQ+ youth-friendly HIV service providers across the 109 counties. There was a range of LGBTQ+ youth-friendly HIV-service provider availability across counties (range: 0-14.33 per 10,000 youth aged 13-24 (IQR: 2.13), median: 1.09); 9 (8.26%) analyzed counties did not have any LGBTQ+ youth-friendly HIV service providers. The Pearson correlation coefficient for the correlation between county HIV prevalence and LGBTQ+ youth-friendly HIV service provider density was 0.16 (p = 0.09), suggesting only a small, non-statistically significant linear relationship between a county's available LGBTQ+ youth-friendly HIV service providers and their HIV burden. CONCLUSIONS: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we must find novel, affordable ways to continue to provide sexual health, mental health and other support services to LGBTQ+ youth.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care/methods , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics , Sexual and Gender Minorities/education , Adolescent , Adult , Humans , Prevalence , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
AIDS Behav ; 26(3): 631-638, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1356012


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to health care access for sexual and gender minorities in the U.S. We sought to explore the impact of COVID-19 on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use and sexual health services by assessing PrEP eligibility and use, changes in sexual behaviors, and HIV/STI testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We surveyed 239 young sexual minority men (YSMM) 17-24 years old between April and September 2020 in the U.S. One-in-seven YSMM PrEP users discontinued use during the pandemic, and all those who discontinued PrEP reported a decrease in sexual activity. Twenty percent reported difficulty getting prescriptions and medications from their doctors or pharmacies, and more than 10% reported challenges accessing HIV/STI testing. Among those who met Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for PrEP (n = 104), 86.5% were not currently using PrEP. Among those surveyed 3 months or later after the start of major COVID-19 stay-at-home measures (n = 165), 35.8% reported CAS with a causal partner within the past 3 months during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeking HIV testing was associated with reporting condomless anal sex in the previous 3 months, indicating the necessity for ensuring continuity of basic sexual health services for YSMM. Failure to adequately adjust HIV prevention services and intervention in the face of pandemic-related adversity undermines efforts to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S.

RESUMEN: La pandemia de COVID-19 ha causado interrupciones en el acceso a la atención médica para las minorías sexuales y de género en los EE. UU. Buscamos explorar el impacto de COVID-19 en el uso de la profilaxis de preexposición al VIH (PrEP) y los servicios de salud sexual mediante la evaluación de la elegibilidad y el uso de PrEP, los cambios en los comportamientos sexuales y las pruebas de VIH/ITS durante la pandemia de COVID-19. Encuestamos a 239 hombres jóvenes de minorías sexuales (YSMM) de 17 a 24 años entre abril y septiembre de 2020 en los EE. UU. Uno de cada siete usuarios de PrEP YSMM interrumpió su uso durante la pandemia, y todos los que interrumpieron la PrEP informaron una disminución en la actividad sexual. El veinte por ciento informó tener dificultades para obtener recetas y medicamentos de sus médicos o farmacias, y más del 10% informó tener dificultades para acceder a las pruebas de VIH/ITS. Entre los que cumplieron con los criterios de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades para la PrEP (n = 104), el 86,5% no estaba usando PrEP actualmente. Entre los encuestados 3 meses o más después del inicio de las principales medidas de COVID-19 para quedarse en casa (n = 165), el 35,8% informó CAS con una pareja causal en los últimos 3 meses durante la pandemia de COVID-19. La búsqueda de la prueba del VIH se asoció con la notificación de sexo anal sin condón en los 3 meses anteriores, lo que indica la necesidad de garantizar la continuidad de los servicios básicos de salud sexual para YSMM. No ajustar adecuadamente los servicios de prevención del VIH y la intervención frente a la adversidad relacionada con la pandemia socava los esfuerzos para poner fin a la epidemia del VIH en los EE. UU.

COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Sexually Transmitted Diseases , Adolescent , Adult , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Sexual Behavior , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/epidemiology , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/prevention & control , Young Adult
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved ; 32(2 Supplement):166-188, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1208053


In the U.S., Black women living with HIV/AIDS (WLHA) are affected disproportionately by interpersonal violence, which often co-occurs with adverse mental health and/or substance use, and exacerbates existing poor HIV care outcomes. Peer navigation has been successful in improving HIV care;however, HIV clinics often lack resources for sustainability and may not account for socio-structural barriers unique to Black WLHA. To address this gap, we developed LinkPositively, a culturally-tailored, trauma-informed WebApp for Black WLHA affected by interpersonal violence to improve HIV care outcomes. Using focus group data from nine Black WLHA and peer navigators, we developed LinkPositively. Core components include: virtual peer navigation to facilitate skill-building to cope with barriers and navigate care;social networking platform for peer support;educational and self-care tips;GPS-enabled resource locator for HIV care and support service agencies;and medication self-monitoring/reminder system. If efficacious, LinkPositively will shift the HIV prevention and care paradigm for Black WLHA.