Trends in Internet Use Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in the United States

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Abstract

Background:

Internet-based platforms are increasingly prominent interfaces for social and sexual networking among men who have sex with men (MSM).

Methods:

MSM were recruited through venue-based sampling in 2008, 2011, and 2014 in 20 US cities. We examined changes in internet use (IU) to meet men and in meeting the last partner online among MSM from 2008 to 2014 using Poisson regression with generalized estimating equations to calculate adjusted prevalence ratios (APRs). We also examined factors associated with increased frequency of IU using data from 2014. IU was categorized as never, infrequent use (Results:

Frequent IU increased from 21% in 2008 to 44% in 2014 (APR = 1.39, 95% confidence interval: 1.36 to 1.42), and having met the last partner online increased from 19% in 2008 to 32% in 2014 (APR = 1.30, 95% confidence interval: 1.26 to 1.34). Those who never used the internet had fewer partners (median of 2 in the past 12 months, interquartile range: 1–4) compared with infrequent (4, 2–7) and frequent users (5, 3–12). HIV testing in the past 12 months also increased with increasing IU (58%, 68%, and 71%, respectively, P < 0.0001). Among HIV-positive participants, the percent HIV-positive awareness increased as IU increased (71%, 75%, and 79%, P < 0.005).

Conclusions:

Both IU to meet men and meeting the last partner online increased since 2008. Although men who used the internet more frequently reported more partners in the past 12 months, they were also more likely to report testing in the past 12 months and were more likely to be HIV-positive aware.

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