, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1285-1297

Sexual Sensation Seeking and Internet Sex-Seeking of Middle Eastern Men Who Have Sex with Men

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Abstract

Despite recent evidence of stabilization in many developed nations, new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections remain a public health concern globally. Efforts remain fragile in a number of world regions due to incomplete or inconsistent social policies concerning HIV, criminalization of same-sex encounters, social stigma, and religious doctrine. Middle Eastern men who have sex with men (MSM) remain one of the most hidden and stigmatized of all HIV risk groups. High-risk sexual bridging networks from these men to low prevalence populations (e.g., to spouse to offspring) are emerging HIV transmission pathways throughout the region. This cross-sectional, exploratory study investigated Sexual Sensation Seeking Scale (SSSS) scores to predict numbers of recent MSM sexual activities and to predict any recent unprotected receptive anal intercourse (URAI) activities in 86 Middle Eastern MSM who resided in the Middle East and who used the Internet to sex-seek. In a multivariate hierarchical regression, higher SSSS scores predicted higher numbers of recent MSM sexual activities (p = .028) and URAI (p = .022). In a logistic regression, higher SSSS scores increased the likelihood of engaging in URAI activities threefold (OR 3.0, 95 % CI 1.15–7.85, p = .025). Age and drug/alcohol use during sexual activities served as covariates in the regression models and were not significant in any analyses. Despite numerous hurdles, adopting Internet-based, non-restricted HIV education and prevention public health programs in the Middle East could instrumentally enhance efforts toward reducing the likelihood of new HIV transmissions in MSM and their sexual partners, ultimately contributing to an improved quality of life.