Sexual Risk Behavior and Venues for Meeting Sex Partners: An Intercept Survey of Gay and Bisexual Men in LA and NYC
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Understanding the link between venues for meeting sex partners and sexual risk behavior is critical to developing and placing effective sexual health education and HIV prevention services. Non-monogamous gay and bisexual men (n = 886) were surveyed in New York and Los Angeles about the venues that they met recent sex partners: bathhouses, private sex parties, gay bars/clubs, the gym, via public cruising, and the Internet. Bars/clubs, bathhouses, and the Internet were the most endorsed venues for meeting partners. Men having met a majority of their partners (i.e., “preference”) via these three venues were compared/contrasted. Those having preference for bars/clubs were dissimilar from men with preference for bathhouses or the Internet on multiple levels (e.g. age, number of sex partners, temptation for unsafe sex). However, these men were proportionally similar in whether they had engaged in a recent episode of unprotected anal intercourse (UAI). Logistic regressions predicting UAI suggested venues might not play a role in differentiating men who had preference for bars/clubs, bathhouses or the Internet. Additional regression analyses utilizing all six venues to predict UAI suggested other person-factors such as identity as a barebacker and temptation for unsafe sex better explain UAI. This research suggests HIV prevention and educational campaigns targeted within venues need also address socio-psychological person-factors in addition to environmental/venue contexts.