While Australians wait for approval of the HIV prevention pill, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, the results of a US survey of users of gay dating app Grindr show a quarter of those who took part report taking the once-a-day pill.
Grindr partnered with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF), the US Center for Disease Control and the research-based biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences for the survey, which looked at current attitudes, usage, and questions regarding PrEP.
The results, released to coincide with World AIDS Day this week, showed 1,213 users (25.5 per cent of those surveyed) reported currently being on PrEP. An additional 2,655 (55.7 per cent of those surveyed) said they were interested in taking it.
Among those currently not on PrEP but wanting to be, 51.4 per cent said they didn't know enough about it and 17 per cent said anxiety about talking to their doctor was why they hadn't started it. In terms of access, rural respondents said they faced a number of hurdles, including not being able to see LGBT-competent doctors.
Of those currently on PrEP, one out of 10 reported having trouble getting their doctor to prescribe it for them. That number was double for African American respondents (with 5.7 per cent saying their doctor had refused to prescribe it).
Latino Americans were much less likely to be on PrEP. Grindr said it will now prioritise circulation of PrEP-related in-app messages in Spanish.
Most of those surveyed said they had discovered PrEP via friends, only one in 10 reporting hearing about it from their doctor. Grindr said it intends to now undertake a mapping project of LGBT clinics throughout the US.
On Monday, New South Wales health minister Jillian Skinner announced a landmark clinical trial of PrEP that will see 3700 high-risk, mostly gay and bisexual men enrolled through the state-wide network of public sexual health clinics and selected GP practices.
You can read the full Grindr World AIDS Day 2015 survey results here.