Perceptions of HIV Risk Among Internet-Using, HIV-Negative Barebacking Men.

Published: March 7, 2012

Abstract

The current study examines the risk perceptions of HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM) who use the Internet to seek unprotected sex. The research questions include the following: How great do these men perceive their HIV risk to be? Are their perceptions based on HIV knowledge or related to their risk behaviors? What factors are associated with greater/lesser perceived risk? Results revealed that more than half of the men believed that they had no or only a slight chance of contracting HIV. Risk perceptions were not related to HIV knowledge or to involvement in HIV risk practices. Four factors were identified as being associated with greater perception of HIV risk: self-identity as a sexual "bottom," having sex while high, greater use of bareback-focused websites, and younger age. Internet-using HIV-negative men who have sex with men tend to underestimate their risk for acquiring HIV, and interventions need to help them accurately assess their risk.

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