Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Toorjo Ghose, PhD

Second Advisor

Sabitha Pillai-Friedman, PhD, LCSW, CST



According to The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 33.4 million individuals throughout the world have been affected by HIV/AIDS in the last 30 years or so (Bonacquisti & Geller, 2013). The medication, Truvada, otherwise known as PrEP, has been introduced to serve as a harm reduction technique to combat the spread of HIV infection. PrEP is an antiretroviral drug that lowers the risk of HIV exposure. This is a qualitative study examining the sexual behaviors of gay and bisexual men prescribed PrEP as a preventive method for the transmission of HIV. I conducted 30 semi-structured in-depth interviews of people who had been prescribed PrEP for at least 30 days in three cities: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York City. The results indicate that contextual factors shaped the sexual behaviors of participants on PrEP, leading them to lower risk at times, and elevate it at others. PrEP caused individuals to experience changes within their communication patterns with their medical providers and their sexual partners. The results shed light on the way people on PrEP engage in sexual and health-seeking behaviors, and help to develop a blueprint for the way service providers engage with this community.

KEY WORDS: PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis); HIV /AIDS; Truvada; HIV prevention; harm reduction; risky sexual behaviors; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); Relational Cultural Therapy (RCT); qualitative interviews

Included in

Social Work Commons