Sexual risk behaviors and HIV infection among men who have sex with men who use the internet

Published: August 1, 2008

Sexual risk behaviors and HIV infection among men who have sex with men who use the internet

Background: MSM is increasingly using the Internet to find sex partners. Yet the demographic characteristics of MSM who use the Internet (MSMUI), their risky sexual behaviors and prevalence of HIV and syphilis are not well studied.

Methods: Between June and August 2007, 429 MSMUI were recruited via the Internet from Beijing and Urumqi, China. Interview was conducted in a private room with a questionnaire administered face-to-face by a trained interviewer. Information collected included demographic characteristics, Internet use and sexual behaviors. Blood specimen was collected and tested for HIV and syphilis.

Results: The mean age of participants was 27 years. Nearly three quarters (72.7%) had an education of some college or more and 22.8% were students. Median number of lifetime male sexual partners was 10. Most identified as homosexual (70.9%) or bisexual (18.5%). Ninety-one percent were Han ethnic. Average age for first sex with man was 21 years. Proportions of condom use in the last oral sex, insertive anal sex and receptive anal sex with a male partner were 8.8%, 66.3% and 60.4%, respectively. Forty-one percent ever had sex with a female partner, and 42.1% of whom used condom in the last sex. Ninety-one percent ever had sex with a cyber friend. Most (390, 96.5%) participants supported online HIV/STI counseling. The prevalence of HIV, syphilis, and co-infection were 4.6%, 11.2%, and 1.6%, respectively. Factors associated with HIV infection were being 24 years old or younger (OR=2.934, 95% CI: 1.069-8.055), being syphilis positive (OR=4.814, 95% CI: 1.734-13.362) and having anal sex before knowing how to use the Internet (OR=3.225, 95% CI: 1.128-9.227).

Conclusions: MSMUI engages in high risky sexual behaviors for HIV infection and has a high prevalence of HIV infection. It is urgent to design and implement specific and effective intervention programs to target this special group of people. The Internet might be an effective platform.

-Abstract can be found at link below-

Leave a Reply