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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Exploring the role of sex-seeking apps and websites in the social and sexual lives of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men: a cross-sectional study

Kiffer G. Card A B E , Nathan J. Lachowsky A D , Zishan Cui A , Susan Shurgold A , Maya Gislason B , Jamie I. Forrest C , Ashleigh J. Rich A C , David Moore A C , Eric Roth A D and Robert S. Hogg A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, 608–1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6, Canada.

B Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Vancouver, BC V5A 1S6, Canada.

C University of British Columbia, 2329 West Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

D University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Road, Victoria, BC V8P 5C2, Canada.

E Corresponding author. Email: kcard@sfu.ca

Sexual Health 14(3) 229-237 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH16150
Submitted: 26 July 2016  Accepted: 27 October 2016   Published: 16 December 2016

Abstract

Background: The objective of this study was to explore the relationship between online sex-seeking, community/social attachment and sexual behaviour. Methods: Respondent-driven sampling was used to recruit 774 sexually active gay and bisexual men in Vancouver, Canada, aged ≥16 years. Multivariable logistic regression compared men who had used online sex-seeking apps/websites in the past 6 months (n = 586) with those who did not (n = 188). Results: Multivariable results showed that online sex seekers were more likely to be younger [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.95, 95% CI: (0.93–0.96)], college educated [aOR = 1.60, 95% CI: (1.07, 2.40)], have more Facebook friends [aOR = 1.07, 95% CI: (1.01, 1.13)], spend more social time with other gay men [aOR = 1.99, 95% CI: (1.33–2.97)], and were less likely to identify emotionally with the gay community [aOR = 0.93, 95% CI: (0.86–1.00)]. Further, they had displayed high sensation-seeking behaviour [aOR = 1.08, 95% CI: (1.03–1.13)], were more likely to engage in serodiscordant/unknown condomless anal sex [aOR = 2.34, 95% CI: (1.50–3.66)], use strategic positioning [aOR = 1.72, 95% CI: (1.08–2.74)], ask their partner’s HIV-status prior to sex [aOR = 2.06, 95% CI: (1.27–3.37)], and have ever been tested for HIV [aOR = 4.11, 95% CI: (2.04–8.29)]. Conclusion: These findings highlight the online and offline social behaviour exhibited by gay and bisexual men, pressing the need for pro-social interventions to promote safe-sex norms online. We conclude that both Internet and community-based prevention will help reach app/web users.

Additional keywords: community, gay men, HIV/AIDS, Internet, sexual health.


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