142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Do MSM have more partners or engage in riskier sex with men met through smartphone apps than with partners from other venues?

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 4:45 PM - 5:00 PM

Eric W. Schrimshaw, PhD , Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Nadav Antebi, M.A. , Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Sabina Hirshfield, PhD , Research and Evaluation, Public Health Solutions, New York, NY
Karolynn Siegel, PhD , Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Background:  Smartphone applications (apps) designed to locate sexual partners among men who have sex with men (MSM) may enable men to meet more partners more quickly. Yet, little is known about men’s use of these apps and whether sexual risks taken with partners met through them differ from risks taken with partners met in other ways.  Method: In 2013, street-intercept surveys were conducted with 617 MSM in New York City. Results:  In the past 3 months, 44% of MSM had used a sexual partnering app and 25% of MSM reported sex with a man met through these apps. However, apps did not replace other venues for meeting sexual partners, as men also reported partners from bars/clubs (34%) and websites (23%) in the past 3 months. Likewise, there were no differences in the number of sexual partners met in each venue or the prevalence of condomless anal sex with partners met through smartphone apps, websites, or bars/clubs. However, there were significant demographic differences in the types of men who used different venues. Discussion: Findings provide some of the first data on the prevalence of smartphone app use for sexual partnering and the sexual risks associated with these technologies. They suggest few differences by venue in the prevalence of meeting partners, the number of partners met, or their sexual risk behaviors with these partners. Therefore, health promotion efforts need to target MSM who use newer smartphone technologies without abandoning efforts in more traditional venues (e.g., bars/clubs, websites).

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the differences by sources of meeting partners – including smartphone apps, websites, and bars/clubs – in the prevalence of meeting sexual partners and sexual risk behaviors. Describe the demographic differences between MSM who meet sexual partners in different venue types. Report on the implications of these findings for informing where health promotion efforts for MSM should be targeted.

Keyword(s): Sexual Risk Behavior, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Ph.D. health psychologist whose research specializes in the health of MSM with considerable work in HIV risk behaviors. I am an Assistant Professor in Public Health at Columbia University. I am the Principal Investigator on this NIH funded study.
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.