Open, Closed, or In Between: Relationship Configuration and Condom Use Among Men Who Use the Internet to Seek Sex with Men
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Nearly 70 % of HIV+ men who have sex with men (MSM) are estimated to have contracted HIV from a main partner. We examine whether condom use varies by relationship configuration, including open relationships with and without cheating. 656 MSM in committed relationships were recruited through a sexually explicit social networking website. Of the 55 % of MSM who had anal sex with a non-main partner in the past 90 days, two-thirds did not use a condom. Adjusting for covariates, MSM in relationships characterized as open with cheating versus monogamous were more likely to have unprotected anal sex with both main and non-main partners. MSM who perceived that their partner played around or cheated were more likely to have unprotected anal sex with a non-main partner. Prevention messages should attempt to reduce cheating and increase personal responsibility for protecting partners from HIV. Messages should be tailored to reflect open and monogamous relationships.
KeywordsCondom Men who have sex with men (MSM) Relationship Infidelity Internet
This study was undertaken as part of “Structural Interventions to Lower Alcohol-related STI/HIV-Risk” (SILAS), grant number R01AA01627001, funded by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Daniel Holsinger, SILAS Project Coordinator, and Gudrun Kilian, Program Manager of the HIV/STI Intervention & Prevention Studies (HIPS) Program.
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