Exploring the Venue’s Role in Risky Sexual Behavior Among Gay and Bisexual Men: An Event-Level Analysis from a National Online Survey in the U.S.
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Venue-based characteristics (e.g., alcohol in bars, anonymous chat online, dark/quiet spaces in bathhouses) can impact how men who have sex with men (MSM) negotiate sex and HIV-associated risk behavior. We sought to determine the association between HIV-associated risk factors and the venues where MSM met their most recent new (first-time) male sex partner, using data from a 2004 to 2005 national online anonymous survey of MSM in the U.S. (n = 2,865). Most men (62%) met their partner through the Internet. Among those reporting anal sex during their last encounter (n = 1,550), half had not used a condom. In multivariate modeling, and among men reporting anal sex during their last encounter, venue where partner was met was not significantly associated with unprotected anal intercourse (UAI). Nevertheless, venue was related to other factors that contextualized men’s sexual encounters. For example, HIV status disclosure was lowest among men who met their most recent partner in a park, outdoors, or other public place and highest among men who met their most recent partner online. Alcohol use prior to/during the last sexual encounter was highest among men who met their most recent partner in a bathhouse or a bar/club/party/event. These data suggest it is possible to reach men online who seek sex in many different venues, thus potentially broadening the impact of prevention messages delivered in virtual environments. Although not associated with UAI, venues are connected to social-behavioral facets of corresponding sexual encounters, and may be important arenas for differential HIV and STI education, treatment, and prevention.
KeywordsSex venues Gay and bisexual men Internet HIV status disclosure Alcohol Condom use
The Viagra, Drug Use and HIV Transmission in Men study was funded by an independent medical grant from Pfizer, Inc. Pfizer had no further role in the production of this article and the views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of Pfizer, Inc. Christian Grov was supported, in part, as a postdoctoral fellow in the Behavioral Sciences training in Drug Abuse Research program sponsored by Public Health Solutions and the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI) with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA-T32 DA07233). NIDA played no role in the production of this article and do not necessarily endorse its findings.
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