This study is affiliated with the Department of Community Health at Tufts University in Medford, MA. In recent years, PrEP has become recognized as an integral component of HIV prevention efforts, particularly among gay, bisexual, queer, or other men who have sex with men (MSM). However, researchers have identified several factors that have hampered PrEP uptake (research indicates that just 10% of individuals who would benefit from taking PrEP are currently receiving a prescription).
Yet, this PrEP research has almost entirely utilized urban or metropolitan samples, excluding the important perspectives related to PrEP of individuals who live in more rural areas. Simultaneously, the literature indicates that the structural, cultural, and social context of rural communities contributes to unique experiences of rural LGBTQIA+ individuals compared to their urban and metropolitan counterparts.
This study seeks to address this gap in knowledge by explicitly focusing on a sample of young-adult (18 to 26 years of age) gay, bisexual, queer, or other men who have sex with men who live in rural areas of the Northeastern US. It is qualitative in nature, with participation involving a 60-minute online interview via Zoom (video not required). Once receiving informed consent, a trained researcher will speak with participants about their experiences and perspectives (e.g., LGBTQIA+ community and social climate in their area, their interactions with PrEP-related health care, their attitudes toward PrEP, and their preferences for PrEP-related health care). We aim to obtain a sample of 20 participants. Confidentiality is of utmost importance, and all de-identified information and data will be stored in a secure Tufts-provided electronic folder that only I will have access to. This study was approved by the Tufts University SBER IRB (STUDY0001096).