Reducing the Discussion Divide by Digital Questionnaires in Health Care Settings: Disruptive Innovation for HIV Testing and PrEP Screening

Steven A. John, Andrew E. Petroll, Jennifer L. Walsh, Katherine G. Quinn, Viraj V. Patel, Christian Grov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background:Health care provider assessment of patient sexual behavior and substance use is essential for determining appropriate prevention interventions - including HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) - for sexual minority men (SMM). We sought to explore acceptability and utility of using electronic surveys to conduct health behavior assessments in clinical settings among SMM.Methods:Among a US nationwide sample of SMM (n = 4187; mean age = 38.3 years; 60% white; 82% HIV-negative), we examined associations of demographics, recruitment venue, sexual behavior characteristics, and recent substance use with participants' comfort communicating verbally and through electronic survey with a health care provider about sexual and substance use behavior.Results:On average, SMM had greater comfort communicating through electronic survey vs. verbally. In our fully adjusted analysis, preference favoring electronic surveys more strongly than verbal communication differed by age (β = -0.07, P ≤ 0.001). SMM with a bachelor's degree or more (β = 0.04, P < 0.05), those recruited from nonclinical settings (β = 0.06, P ≤ 0.001), and those without primary care providers (β = 0.04, P < 0.05) favored electronic surveys more strongly in the fully adjusted multivariable model. SMM who reported any recent casual sex partners (β = 0.05, P < 0.01), those never tested for HIV (β = 0.03, P < 0.05), and HIV-negative/unknown men not on PrEP (compared with PrEP users; β = 0.09, P ≤ 0.001) also favored electronic surveys in the fully adjusted model.Conclusions:Reducing communication barriers by incorporating electronic surveys into patient assessments could help identify HIV testing and PrEP needs for SMM most susceptible to HIV acquisition. Nonetheless, no one screening strategy is likely to work for most SMM, and multiple approaches are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-308
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • HIV
  • HIV testing
  • gay and bisexual men
  • pre-exposure prophylaxis
  • sexual minority men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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