NHBS – Featured Publications

Preexposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) use among MSM

Changes in HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis Awareness and Use Among Men Who Have Sex with Men — 20 Urban Areas, 2014 and 2017

PrEP pill

Abstract: In February 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed a strategic initiative to end the human immunodeficiency (HIV) epidemic in the United States by reducing new HIV infections by 90% during 2020–2030* (1). Phase 1 of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative focuses on Washington, DC; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and 48 counties where the majority of new diagnoses of HIV infection in 2016 and 2017 were concentrated and on seven states with a disproportionate occurrence of HIV in rural areas relative to other states.† One of the four pillars in the initiative is protecting persons at risk for HIV infection using proven, comprehensive prevention approaches and treatments, such as HIV preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which is the use of antiretroviral medications that have proven effective at preventing infection among persons at risk for acquiring HIV. In 2014, CDC released clinical PrEP guidelines to health care providers (2) and intensified efforts to raise awareness and increase the use of PrEP among persons at risk for infection, including gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), a group that accounted for an estimated 68% of new HIV infections in 2016 (3). Data from CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) were collected in 20 U.S. urban areas in 2014 and 2017, covering 26 of the geographic areas included in Phase I of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, and were compared to assess changes in PrEP awareness and use among MSM. From 2014 to 2017, PrEP awareness increased by 50% overall, with >80% of MSM in 17 of the 20 urban areas reporting PrEP awareness in 2017. Among MSM with likely indications for PrEP (e.g., sexual risk behaviors or recent bacterial sexually transmitted infection [STI]), use of PrEP increased by approximately 500% from 6% to 35%, with significant increases observed in all urban areas and in almost all demographic subgroups. Despite this progress, PrEP use among MSM, especially among black and Hispanic MSM, remains low. Continued efforts to improve coverage are needed to reach the goal of 90% reduction in HIV incidence by 2030. In addition to developing new ways of connecting black and Hispanic MSM to health care providers through demonstration projects, CDC has developed resources and tools such as the Prescribe HIV Prevention program to enable health care providers to integrate PrEP into their clinical care. By routinely testing their patients for HIV, assessing HIV-negative patients for risk behaviors, and prescribing PrEP as needed, health care providers can play a critical role in this effort.

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis Among Men Who Have Sex with Men — 23 Urban Areas, 2017

Abstract: In 2017, preliminary data show that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 67% of new diagnoses of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, that MSM who inject drugs accounted for an additional 3%, and that African American/black (black) and Hispanic/Latino (Hispanic) MSM were disproportionately affected (1). During 2010–2015, racial/ethnic disparities in HIV incidence increased among MSM; in 2015, rates among black and Hispanic MSM were 10.5 and 4.9 times as high, respectively, as the rate among white MSM (compared with 9.2 and 3.8 times as high, respectively, in 2010) (2). Increased use of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which reduces the risk for sexual acquisition of HIV infection by approximately 99% when taken daily as prescribed, would help to reduce these disparities and support the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America initiative† (3). Although PrEP use has increased among all MSM since 2014 (4), racial/ethnic disparities in PrEP use could increase existing disparities in HIV incidence among MSM (5). To understand racial/ethnic disparities in PrEP awareness, discussion with a health care provider, and use (steps in the HIV PrEP continuum of care) (6), CDC analyzed 2017 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) data. Black and Hispanic MSM were significantly less likely than were white MSM to be aware of PrEP, to have discussed PrEP with a health care provider, or to have used PrEP within the past year. Among those who had discussed PrEP with a health care provider within the past year, 68% of white MSM, 62% of Hispanic MSM, and 55% of black MSM, reported PrEP use. Prevention efforts need to increase PrEP use among all MSM and target eliminating racial/ethnic disparities in PrEP use.

NHBS Special Issue of JAIDS

Achieving Greater HIV Prevention Impact Through CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Systemexternal icon

NHBS Word Cloud

Summary: NHBS is able to guide local and national high-impact prevention strategies by identifying who is at highest risk, what they are doing, and what services they need most. As exemplified by contributions to local prevention programs and policies and the analyses included in this supplement, NHBS data can be used to assess HIV risk behaviors, prevalence, and service utilization of the populations most affected by HIV in the United States and guide local and national high-impact prevention strategies to meet national HIV prevention goals by identifying communities most in need of HIV prevention efforts, monitoring how those needs change, and assessing uptake and effectiveness of HIV interventions, including HIV testing and treatment, PrEP, and access to sterile syringes and other services through SSPs. As we look to the future, behavioral surveillance remains essential for informing HIV prevention efforts at local and national levels by characterizing and monitoring HIV risk behaviors and utilization of testing and other prevention services.

Trends in injection drug use and HIV

Vital Signs: Trends in HIV Diagnoses, Risk Behaviors, and Prevention Among Persons Who Inject Drugs – United States

girl sitting on stairs

Abstract: Persons who inject drugs (PWID) are at increased risk for poor health outcomes and bloodborne infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus and hepatitis B virus infections. Although substantial progress has been made in reducing HIV infections among PWID, recent changes in drug use could challenge this success. CDC used National HIV Surveillance System data to analyze trends in HIV diagnoses. Further, National HIV Behavioral Surveillance interviews of PWID in 22 cities were analyzed to describe risk behaviors and use of prevention services among all PWID and among PWID who first injected drugs during the 5 years before their interview (new PWID). During 2008-2014, HIV diagnoses among PWID declined in urban and nonurban areas, but have leveled off in recent years. Among PWID in 22 cities, during 2005-2015, syringe sharing decreased by 34% among blacks/African Americans (blacks) and by 12% among Hispanics/Latinos (Hispanics), but remained unchanged among whites. The racial composition of new PWID changed during 2005-2015: the percentage who were black decreased from 38% to 19%, the percentage who were white increased from 38% to 54%, and the percentage who were Hispanic remained stable. Among new PWID interviewed in 2015, whites engaged in riskier injection behaviors than blacks. Decreases in HIV diagnoses among PWID indicate success in HIV prevention. However, emerging behavioral and demographic trends could reverse this success.


HIV testing among PWID

Low HIV testing among persons who inject drugs-National HIV Behavioral Surveillance, 20 U.S. cities, 2012.external icon


Abstract: Persons who inject drugs (PWID) continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. HIV testing is key to reducing HIV transmission by increasing awareness of HIV status and linking HIV-positive persons to care. Using data from PWID participating in CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) system, we examined prevalence of recent HIV testing among PWID by certain characteristics to guide interventions to increase HIV testing. We analyzed NHBS data from PWID 18 years or older recruited via respondent-driven sampling in 20 US cities in 2012. We examined demographic and behavioral factors associated with recent HIV testing (within 12 months before interview) using a Poisson model to calculate adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs). Of 9555 PWID, 53% had recently tested for HIV. In multivariable analysis, HIV testing was more frequent among participants who visited a healthcare provider (aPR 1.50, P<0.001), participated in alcohol or drug treatment (aPR 1.21, P<0.001), or received an HIV prevention intervention (aPR 1.26, P<0.001). HIV testing was also more frequent among participants who received free sterile syringes (aPR 1.12, P<0.001). Only half of PWID participating in NHBS in 2012 reported recent HIV testing. HIV testing was more frequent among participants who accessed health and HIV prevention services. To increase HIV testing among PWID, it is important for providers in healthcare and HIV prevention settings to proactively assess risk factors for HIV, including injection drug use, and offer a wide range of appropriate interventions, such as HIV testing.

HIV risk among Heterosexual Minority

Assessing the Theory of Gender and Power: HIV Risk Among Heterosexual Minority Dyadsexternal icon

Loving young couple in bed

Abstract: This study drew on the Theory of Gender and Power (TGP) as a framework to assess power inequalities within heterosexual dyads and their effects on women. Structural equation modeling was used to better understand the relationship between structural and interpersonal power and HIV sexual risk within African American and Latina women’s heterosexual dyads. The main outcome variable was women’s sexual HIV risk in the dyad and was created using women’s reports of condomless sex with their main male partners and partners’ reports of their HIV risk behaviors. Theoretical associations developed a priori yielded a well-fitting model that explained almost a quarter of the variance in women’s sexual HIV risk in main partner dyads. Women’s and partner structural power were indirectly associated with women’s sexual HIV risk through substance use and interpersonal power. Interpersonal power was directly associated with risk. In addition, this study found that not identifying as heterosexual was directly and indirectly associated with women’s heterosexual sex risk. This study provides further support for the utility of the TGP and the relevance of gender-related power dynamics for HIV prevention among heterosexually-active women.