Using the Internet in Pursuit of Public Sexual Encounters: Is Frequency of Use Associated With Risk Behavior Among MSM?

Published: June 9, 2011


The current study investigated a subgroup of 112 men who have sex with men who use the Internet in search of partners for sex venue encounters to understand what types of venues they frequent and whether their behaviors are associated with an increased risk of HIV/STI transmission. An initial cluster analysis revealed two patterns of Internet use-low and high frequency-among these men. Although frequency of Internet use to find partners for venue encounters did not cluster with venue attendance, there was a trend among high-frequency Internet users to attend gyms, public bathrooms, and sex clubs more than low-frequency users. Furthermore, high-frequency users attended more venues, preferred venues where multiple partners can be found, and were marginally more likely to engage in unprotected anal sex across venues compared with low-frequency users. Knowing that some venue users initiate venue encounters on the Internet may be useful in targeting appropriate HIV/STI interventions.

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