(New York, NY) – Today, Community Healthcare Network (CHN), a New York City-based nonprofit that provides medical services and outreach and education programs to 75,000 individuals a year, released a new report on attitudes and knowledge about HIV/AIDS of men who have sex with men (MSM) and who meet their sexual partners through the use of geosocial networking apps like Grindr, Scruff, Manhunt, and Growlr on their mobile devices. In response to the findings, CHN is recommending adding pre-exposure prophylaxis, more commonly known as treatment as prevention, to the tools used to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
While HIV/AIDS rates have been on the decline for most populations and the annual number of HIV infections was stable between 2006 and 2009, there was a 45 percent increase in HIV in MSM (men who have sex with men) aged 13-29 (Center of Disease Control, 2011). In 2009, MSM represented approximately 2 percent of the US population, yet they accounted for 61 percent of all new HIV infections.
According to the study, “Zero Feet Away: Perspective on HIV/AIDS and Unprotected Sex in Men Who Have Sex with Men Utilizing Location-based Mobile Apps,” nearly 50 percent of surveyed gay and bisexual men are knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS, and are afraid of getting infected or re-infected with the virus, yet persist to participate in risk-taking activities such as unprotected anal intercourse.
“Clearly, we’ve come a long way in educating people about HIV and AIDS,” said Dr. Molano, Assistant Vice President of HIV Programs and Services at CHN, “yet among certain populations, HIV and AIDS is on the rise, and that’s alarming. We conducted this study as a result of a seeming correlation between an increasing use of mobile social networking apps designed for men to meet each other and an increase in HIV infections among MSM.” Dr. Molano authored the study along with Renato Barucco, Transgender Program Manager at CHN.
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