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Keywords:

  • education;
  • HIV;
  • preventive measures;
  • prophylaxis;
  • public health policy

Objectives

This paper examines the awareness and use of nonoccupational HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP) in Spain, and the factors that influence this awareness.

Methods

Between June 2009 and July 2010, a mobile unit offered free, rapid HIV tests in a number of Spanish cities. A total of 2545 people were passively recruited and tested, and answered a self-administered questionnaire containing sociodemographic, behavioural and nPEP-related questions. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed, stratifying by gender/sexual behaviour.

Results

Some 34% of the responders were men who have sex with men (MSM), 30% were men who have sex exclusively with women (MSW), and 35% were women. Approximately 26% were foreigners, 46% had a university degree, and 51% had previously taken an HIV test. Overall, 22% were aware of nPEP. Only 2% had ever used it; 70% of these after high-risk sexual intercourse. Awareness was higher among MSM (34%) than women (16%) and MSW (15%). Multivariate analysis showed a lack of nPEP awareness to be associated with being born in Latin America, while awareness increased with the number of previous HIV tests among women and MSW. In MSM, awareness was also associated with having a university degree, the degree of interaction with gay culture, number of partners, and use of the internet as the main way of meeting partners.

Conclusions

nPEP awareness in the studied population was unacceptably low. The promotion of its availability should be made a major objective of prevention programmes, as a complementary measure to condom use.