Quality of HIV websites with information about pre-exposure prophylaxis or treatment as prevention for men who have sex with men: A systematic evaluation


BACKGROUND: Knowledge and uptake of high-efficacy HIV prevention strategies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and treatment as prevention (TasP) remain low among men who have sex with men (MSM) who are at the highest risk for HIV infection in the United States. Electronic health (eHealth) interventions are promising tools for disseminating information about these critical yet underutilized strategies and addressing key barriers to uptake among target populations. However, existing HIV prevention websites are understudied and unevaluated. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to systematically review and evaluate existing HIV websites that include information about PrEP or TasP for MSM. METHODS: From March 2018 to May 2018, 2 trained research assistants (RAs) entered relevant key words and phrases into 3 commonly used search engines and applied exclusion criteria to all returned results to identify 31 websites included in this review. RAs independently scored each website for authority, usability, interactivity, and PrEP/TasP-related content based on a standardized rating scale and then averaged the results. RESULTS: No website received a perfect score in any of the 4 categories, and the average website score was 62% (37/60). Less than a quarter of the websites (23%, 7/31) received a score of more than 75% (7.5/10) for content. Approximately two-thirds of the websites (65%, 20/31) received a score of 50% (5/10) or lower for interactivity. The average score in usability was 68% (6.8/10) and in authority was 69% (6.9/10). Other deficiencies observed included difficulty locating relevant content and lack of information targeting audiences with the highest likelihood of HIV infection. CONCLUSIONS: Existing HIV prevention websites with information about PrEP or TasP for MSM fail to provide adequate content as well as present that content to users in an interactive and audience-conscious way. Future eHealth interventions should attempt to rectify these deficiencies to successfully engage and educate MSM at high risk for HIV regarding prevention strategies


Silverman T, Asante N, van den Berg JJ




  • Population(s)
    • Men who have sex with men
    • Transgender communities
    • Ethnoracial communities
    • General HIV+ population
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention
    • Biomedical interventions
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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