142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Daily diary examination of internet use, sexual behavior, and sexual health among gay and bisexually identified men

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 3:15 PM - 3:30 PM

Joshua G. Rosenberger, PhD, MPH , Department of Global and Community Health, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Devon Hensel, PhD , Section of Adolescent Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
David S. Novak, MSW , OLB Research Institute, Online Buddies Inc., Cambridge, MA
Background: While recent literature has focused on the use of technology and increased risks associated with “online” sexual behavior, limited information exists about the day-to-day uses of the internet among gay and bisexual men, sexually related internet activities, and associations of such use with offline sexual encounters.

Methods: Daily diary data were collected from (N = 3,877) gay and bisexual men who were members of several online websites facilitating social or sexual interactions with other men. Data collected included types of internet behavior, sexually related internet activities, and reasons for using the internet for sexual purposes; additionally, men reported sexual behaviors engaged in with partners met online for sex.

Results: Participants contributed 35,022 diary days, of which 64.0% (22,442/35,022) were associated with any sexually related internet activity. The most commonly reported internet behaviors included types of checking email (94.0%), visiting a website (89.9%) and visiting a social network website (71.2%). Among all days in which men visited sexual networking websites, only 30.5% resulted in finding a person with whom they wanted to engage in sexual activity with; of those 42.6% resulted in physically meeting the person for sex. For days in which offline sex occurred 76.4% were with sexual partners they had engaged in sex with previously. 

Conclusions: These data provide an event level perspective of internet use among gay and bisexual men, and demonstrate that use of an online sexual networking website does not necessarily translate into a physical interaction offline.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe daily internet behaviors of gay and bisexual men

Keyword(s): Menís Health, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a degree and advanced training in issues related to sexual health
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.