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A dramatic increase in the use of mobile apps to meet partners among gay men in Melbourne and Sydney is not associated with increased risk-taking: findings from the Gay Community Periodic Surveys, 2010-2013

A dramatic increase in the use of mobile apps to meet partners among gay men in Melbourne and Sydney is not associated with increased risk-taking: findings from the Gay Community Periodic Surveys, 2010-2013

In recent years there has been a widespread uptake of smartphones with internet access and location services and the development of mobile ‘apps’ for gay men to meet each other. We reviewed data collected in the Sydney and Melbourne Gay Community Periodic Surveys (GCPS) to identify which men were relying on mobile and internet methods to meet each other and whether these methods were associated with different risk practices.

We analysed which participants met their male sex partners through mobile apps, the internet and other methods. Data from 2010 to 2013 were included. We report linear tests for trends and used logistic regression to assess associations with meeting partners via mobiles/online.

Data from 20,064 participants were included. 14,540 (72.5%) men reported using at least one place or method to meet sex partners. From 2010 to 2013, the proportion of participants who met partners via the internet was stable. The proportion that used mobile apps to meet sex partners increased significantly from 29.7% in 2011 to 45.6% in 2013. During the same period, there were significant falls in the proportions of men who found sex partners at social venues (39.9% to 31.2%, p <.001) and sex venues (43.1% to 34.5%, p <.001).

In a logistic regression model, using mobile/online methods exclusively was associated with being younger and using serosorting for sex without condoms. However, reliance on mobile/online methods was not significantly associated with HIV status, being diagnosed with an STI or unprotected anal intercourse with casual partners.

There has been a dramatic increase in use of mobile apps to meet male partners by gay men in Sydney and Melbourne. However, men who exclusively use websites or mobile phone to meet partners do not appear to be at increased risk of STIs or HIV.

Speakers: Peter Hull
Conference: ASHM 2013
Areas of Interest / Categories: AIDS 2013, Homosexuality

AIDS 2013

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