Date of Defense:
August 26, 2014
Objectives: The purpose of this literature review was to estimate the percentage of men who have sex with men (MSM) aged 18 and older, and young men who have sex with men (YMSM) aged 13 – 29, that use the Internet and mobile technology to find sex partners, and the percentage of MSM and YMSM that hav e sex with partners met online. In addition, risk factors for HIV infection or transmission associated with such behavior were qualitatively examined. This literature review aimed to serve as an extension of the Liau, Millett and Marks’ (2006) meta analysis .
Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted on published literature from 2007 to 2013. Eleven studies met the criteria for inclusion in this literature review; five were MSM – focused and six were YMSM – focused. The following data abstract ed from each study included: recruitment method (online, offline or both), location of study, method of data collection, sexual behavior measured and findings regarding risk behavior for HIV. Weighted means and weighted 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated to determine percentage of MSM and YMSM that use the Internet and mobile technology to find sex partners and that have sex with partners met online.
Results: Fewer MSM sought sex partners online than had sex with a partner met online (43.70%, 95% CI, 18.55% – 68.85% versus 55.66%, 95% CI, 23.95% – 87.37%). This could demonstrate Liau, Millett and Marks’ (2006) self – selection hypothesis. Among YMSM however, the opposite relation was observed, though the percentage of YMSM that had sex with a partner met online was not significant. The percentage of YMSM who went online to find a sex partner changed very little when we compared all YMSM – focused studies with those that recruited participants solely online (65.24%, 95% CI, 54.64% – 75.84% versus 63.13% , 95% CI, 59.18% – 67.08%).
Conclusions: Similar to Liau, Millett and Marks (2006), this literature review showed that a large percentage of MSM and YMSM use the Internet and mobile technology to find sex partners and have sex with partners met online. However, there were some stark differences in some of the results between Liau, Millett and Marks (2006) and the present study. When looking at risk for HIV associated with such behavior, more research is needed that carefully and thoughtfully articulates what constitutes “risky” sex.