AIDS and Behavior

, 11:522 | Cite as

Where Young MSM Meet Their First Sexual Partner: The Role of the Internet

  • Graham Bolding
  • Mark Davis
  • Graham Hart
  • Lorraine Sherr
  • Jonathan Elford
Original Paper

Abstract

The objective was to examine how many young men who have sex with men (MSM) meet their first sexual partner through the Internet and whether this has increased over time. In 2003, 2505 MSM surveyed on UK Internet sites completed a self-administered questionnaire. Data were analysed for 810 MSM who were under 30 years old at the time of the survey and who first had sex with another man between 1993–2002. During this period there was a significant increase in the percentage of MSM who met their first male sexual partner through the Internet (2.6–61.0%). There was a corresponding decrease in the percentage who met their first sexual partner at a gay venue (34.2–16.9%), school (23.7–1.3%), a public sex environment, through small ads or telephone chatlines (10.5–1.3%). An increasing number of young MSM appear to meet their first sexual partner through the Internet. Online sexual health interventions should be developed targeting men early in their sexual careers.

Keywords

Internet MSM Sexual behaviour Young men HIV prevention 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the Medical Research Council (grant number GO 100159). The authors would like to thank: gaydar, gay.com and all the men who completed a questionnaire.

References

  1. Benotsch, E., Kalichman, S., & Cage, M. (2002). Men who have met sex partners via the Internet: Prevalence, predictors and implications for HIV prevention. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 31, 177–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boies, S. (2002). University students’ uses of and reactions to online sexual information and entertainment: Links to online and offline sexual behaviour. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 11, 77–89.Google Scholar
  3. Bolding, G., Davis, M., Hart, G., Sherr, L., & Elford, J. (2005). Gay men who look for sex on the Internet: Is there more HIV/STI risk with online partners? AIDS, 19, 961–968.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Davis, M., Hart, G., Bolding, G., Sherr, L., & Elford, J. (2006a). E-dating, identity and HIV prevention: Theorising sexualities, risk and network society. Sociology of Health and Illness, 28, 457–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Davis, M., Hart, G., Bolding, G., Sherr, L., & Elford, J. (2006b). Sex and the Internet: Gay men, risk reduction and serostatus. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 8, 161–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Elford, J., Bolding, G., Davis, M., Sherr, L., & Hart, G. (2004a). The Internet and HIV study: Design and methods. BMC Public Health, 4. (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/4/39).
  7. Elford, J., Bolding, G., Davis, M., Sherr, L., & Hart, G. (2004b). Web-based behavioural surveillance among men who have sex with men: A comparison of online and offline samples in London, UK. Journal of AIDS, 35, 421–426.Google Scholar
  8. Elford, J., Bolding, G., & Sherr, L. (2001). Seeking sex on the Internet and sexual risk behaviour among gay men using London gyms. AIDS, 15, 1409–1415.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Elford, J., Bolding, G., Sherr, L., & Hart, G. (2005). High risk sexual behaviour among London gay men: no longer increasing. AIDS, 19, 2171–2174.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kim, A., Kent, C., McFarland, W., & Klausner, J. (2001). Cruising the Internet highway. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 28, 89–93.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Liau, A., Millett, G., & Marks, G. (2006). Meta-analytic examination of online sex-seeking and sexual risk behaviour among men who have sex with men. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 33, 576–584.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. McFarlane, M., Bull, S., & Rietmeijer, C. (2000). The Internet as a newly emerging risk environment for sexually transmitted diseases. Journal of the American Medical Association, 284, 443–446.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McFarlane, M., Bull, S., & Rietmeijer, C. (2002). Young adults on the Internet: Risk behaviors for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Journal of Adolescent Health, 31, 11–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mettey, A., Crosby, R., DiClemente, R., & Holtgrave, D. (2003). Associations between Internet sex seeking and STI associated risk behaviours among men who have sex with men. Sexually Transmitted Infection, 79, 466–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rietmeijer, C., Bull, S., McFarlane, M., Patnaik, J., & Douglas, J. (2003). Risks and benefits of the Internet for populations at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Results of an STI clinic survey. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 30, 15–19.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Taylor, M., Aynalem, G., Smith, L., Bemis, C., Kenney, K., & Kerndt, P. (2004). Correlates of Internet use to meet sexual partners among men who have sex with men diagnosed with early syphilis in Los Angeles County. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 31, 552–556.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Bolding
    • 1
  • Mark Davis
    • 1
  • Graham Hart
    • 2
  • Lorraine Sherr
    • 3
  • Jonathan Elford
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Health SciencesCity UniversityLondonUK
  2. 2.MRC Social and Public Health Sciences UnitGlasgowUK
  3. 3.Royal Free and University College Medical SchoolLondonUK

Personalised recommendations