Facebook network structure and awareness of preexposure prophylaxis among young men who have sex with men.


While PrEP awareness increased from 45% at baseline to 75% at follow-up, its use remained low (4% and 6%). There were 88 PrEP-unaware individuals at baseline who became aware (BA) by follow-up, and 56 who remained persistently unaware. While the persistently unawares had a higher median number of total Facebook friends, the BAs had a higher median numbers of friends who participated in uConnect, who were PrEP-aware, and who practiced behaviors previously found to be associated with individual-level awareness of PrEP at baseline. The BAs also had substantially more "influential" friends.

The social networks of YBMSM can impact their awareness of PrEP; to examine this impact, we used two waves of Facebook data from "uConnect"-a longitudinal cohort study of YBMSM in Chicago (n = 266).

These findings demonstrate the potential of social networks in raising PrEP awareness and use among YBMSM.

Young Black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) are the only population in the United States who have experienced rising human immunodeficiency virus incidence over the past decade. Consistent pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use can substantially reduce the risk of human immunodeficiency virus acquisition. What differentiates those who become aware of PrEP, and those who do not, remains largely unknown.

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