Health Commun. 2022 Nov 18:1-12. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2022.2145781. Online ahead of print.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a highly effective daily pill that decreases the likelihood of HIV acquisition by up to 92% among individuals at risk for HIV. PrEP can be discretely used, autonomously controlled, and in place at the time of risk exposure, making it an especially promising method for HIV prevention for cisgender women (CGW). But, PrEP is underutilized by CGW relative to the demonstrable need. We apply the Integrative Model of Behavioral Prediction to identify the critical psychosocial factors that shape CGW’s intentions to use PrEP and their relevant underlying beliefs. We surveyed (N = 294) community- and clinic-recruited PrEP eligible CGW to understand the relative importance of attitudes, norms, and efficacy in shaping PrEP intentions. We utilized structural equation modeling to identify the relevant paths. We inspected the summary statistics in relation to three message three selection criteria. We identified beliefs that demonstrated (1) an association with intention, (2) substantial room to move the population, (3) practicality as a target for change through communication intervention. Results show that PrEP awareness was low. When women learned about PrEP, they voiced positive intentions to use it. There were significant and positive direct effects of SE (0.316***), attitudes (0.201**), and subjective norms (0.249***) on intention to initiate PrEP. We illustrate the strategic identification of beliefs within the relevant paths using the 3 belief selection criteria. We also discuss implications for social and structural communication interventions to support women’s HIV prevention.