Knowledge and Attitudes about Pre-exposure Prophylaxis among Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness in Seven U.S. Cities.

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Graduate School of Social Work


Homeless youth, Young adults, HIV, Prevention, Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)



Evidence suggests that young adults experiencing homelessness (YEH) are at elevated risk of HIV compared to housed youth. Given the limited research on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) awareness among YEH, this study examined their PrEP knowledge and attitudes.


Data from a cross-sectional survey among YEH (ages 18–26) (n = 1,427) in seven U.S. cities were used to assess their knowledge and attitudes regarding PrEP to inform HIV prevention efforts.


Participants were primarily male youth of color. The mean age was 20.9years. While 66% felt at risk for HIV, only 14% strongly agreed that they try to protect themselves from getting infected with HIV. Most (84%) were eligible for PrEP based on risk, yet only 29% had knowledge of PrEP. Despite this, 59% reported they were likely/extremely likely to take PrEP. Access to free PrEP (55%), HIV testing (72%), healthcare (68%), and one-on-one (62%), and text messaging support (57%) were rated as very/extremely important for PrEP uptake and adherence.


The results of this study suggest missed opportunities to prevent new HIV infections among YEH. Efforts to increase PrEP uptake among this population should consider provider- and system-level interventions to increase PrEP awareness, decrease PrEP-associated healthcare costs, improve access to PrEP providers, and provide in-person and text messaging support.

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