Characteristics of Men Who Have Sex With Men Who Use Smartphone Geosocial Networking Applications and Implications for HIV Interventions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
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Men who have sex with men (MSM) are increasingly using geosocial networking (GSN) mobile applications (apps) designed for MSM to socialize and seek sex partners. We systematically reviewed studies on the characteristics of app-using MSM and the potential feasibility of app-based HIV interventions. Existing studies provided limited parameters to compare characteristics and sexual behaviors between app-using and non-app-using MSM. Available data showed that: compared to non-app-using MSM, app-using MSM tended to be younger, identified as White (in the US and Australia), have higher educational level, report higher incomes, and had a higher rate of engagement in risky sexual behaviors and STIs. Compared to non-app-using MSM, app-using MSM were more likely to have tested for HIV in lifetime (Pooled odds ratio = 2.1, 95 % confidence interval: 1.7–2.6) and have similar HIV prevalence. Up to 676 MSM were recruited in 1 day via apps. In the current literature, there was a lack of (1) comparable parameters to measure sexual risk; (2) large longitudinal studies to clarify behavioral changes and HIV/STI incidence over time, comparing app-using and non-app-using MSM; (3) studies to examine the feasibility and efficacy of using apps to promote HIV testing among MSM; and (4) studies on similar topics from countries other than the US, Australia, and China. MSM GSN apps should be utilized in future HIV prevention and control endeavors. Researchers and health providers should collaborate with GSN app developers on these endeavors.
KeywordsMen who have sex with men (MSM) Smartphone Sexual orientation HIV Sexually transmitted infections
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