Framing HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for the General Public: How Inclusive Messaging May Prevent Prejudice from Diminishing Public Support
Strategic framing of public messages about HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) may influence public support for policies and programs affecting access. This survey study examined how public attitudes toward PrEP differed based on the social group PrEP was described as benefiting (“beneficiary”) and the moderating effect of prejudice. Members of the general public (n = 154) recruited online were randomly assigned to three beneficiary conditions: general population, gay men, or Black gay men. All participants received identical PrEP background information before completing measures of PrEP attitudes (specifying beneficiary), racism, and heterosexism. Despite anticipating greater PrEP adherence among gay men and Black gay men and perceiving PrEP as especially beneficial to the latter, participants expressed lower support for policies/programs making PrEP affordable for these groups vs. the general population. This disparity in support was stronger among participants reporting greater prejudice. Inclusive framing of PrEP in public discourse may prevent prejudice from undermining implementation efforts.