Gearing Up for PrEP in the Middle East and North Africa

An Initial Look at Willingness to Take PrEP Among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men in Beirut, Lebanon

Published in: Behavioral Medicine (2019). doi: 10.1080/08964289.2019.1661822

Posted on on April 30, 2020

by Erik D. Storholm, Matt G. Mutchler, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Elie Balan, Jacques Mokhbat, Susan M. Kegeles, Glenn Wagner

Read More

Access further information on this document at Taylor & Francis Online

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is one of only two global regions where rates of HIV are currently on the rise. In Lebanon, new HIV infections are increasing most rapidly among young men who have sex with men (YMSM). While, the majority of YMSM in Lebanon report having recently engaged in condomless anal intercourse, many report reluctance to seek HIV prevention services for fear of stigma and discrimination. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an effective alternative HIV prevention strategy but there is a dearth of research looking at willingness to take PrEP among YMSM in MENA. This study is the first to delineate factors associated with willingness to take PrEP among a cohort of 218 YMSM recruited from Beirut, Lebanon. Over half (55.5%) reported willingness to take PrEP. At the bivariate level, knowledge of HIV risk, awareness of PrEP, being in a relationship, greater judgementalism about sex in communication with peers, greater number of types of gay-related discrimination experienced, sense of community among YMSM, having had recent condomless anal sex with positive or unknown status partner, and the use of substances just prior to or during sex were each associated with greater willingness to take PrEP. When entered into a linear regression analysis, use of substances just prior to or during sex and sense of community among YMSM remained significant predictors of PrEP willingness. Intervention efforts focused on increasing PrEP uptake among YMSM in MENA should consider the influence substance use and social factors on willingness to take PrEP.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.