Sigma Research

What qualities in a potential HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis service are valued by black men who have sex with men in London? A qualitative acceptability study

International Journal of STD & AIDS, 2018; 29(8): 760–765 (doi:10.1177/0956462418755224).

Authors: T. Charles Witzel, Will Nutland, Adam Bourne


Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) have higher HIV incidence and prevalence when compared to other MSM, despite similar levels of condom use and testing. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) could be a useful intervention to reduce these inequalities. This research therefore aims to understand the dimensions of acceptability of a potential PrEP service for BMSM aged 18-45 years in London. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 PrEP-eligible BMSM between April and August 2016. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, then subject to a thematic framework analysis, informed by intersectionality theory. BMSM had distinct preferences for sexual health services, which have implications for PrEP service development. Three primary domains emerged in our analysis: proximity and anonymity; quality, efficiency and reassurance; and understanding, empathy and identity. These relate, respectively, to preferences regarding clinic location and divisions from community, features of service delivery and staff characteristics. Due to concerns about confidentiality, community-based services may not be useful for this group. Careful consideration in regards to components used in service development will facilitate ongoing engagement. Interpersonal skills of staff are central to service acceptability, particularly when staff are perceived to be from similar cultural backgrounds as their patients.

Keywords: Europe; HIV; pre-exposure prophylaxis; prevention

For a full copy of the paper please email Charles Witzel

Available online