The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 13–18 | Cite as

African American Adolescents Meeting Sex Partners Online: Closing the Digital Research Divide in STI/HIV Prevention

  • Laura B. WhiteleyEmail author
  • Larry K. Brown
  • Rebecca R. Swenson
  • Robert F. Valois
  • Peter A. Vanable
  • Michael P. Carey
  • Ralph DiClemente
  • Laura F. Salazar
  • Daniel Romer
Original Paper


Minority adolescents are affected disproportionately by HIV and STIs, and the Internet is a popular venue to meet sex partners. Little is known about the risks of this behavior for minority adolescents. The majority of studies that have examined sexual risk behavior online or STI/HIV prevention programs online have been among adult MSM. In this study, data from 1,045 African American youth found that 6% met sex partners online and in chat rooms. Odds ratios, adjusting for gender, found this behavior was associated with alcohol (AOR = 2.33, 95% CI [1.1, 4.7]) and drug use (AOR = 3.45, 95% CI [1.9, 6.1]), unprotected vaginal (AOR = 4.71, 95% CI [1.9, 8.4]) and anal sex (AOR = 4.77, 95% CI [1.3,17.1]) in the last 90 days, more lifetime vaginal (AOR = 3.65, 95% CI [2.0, 6.8]) and anal sex (AOR = 2.74, 95% CI [1.5, 4.8]), greater sexual sensation seeking (AOR = 2.92, 95% CI [1.5, 5.7]) and greater depression (AOR = 2.06, 95% CI [1.2, 3.6]. A final multiple logistic regression analyses found that male gender (AOR = 3.13, 95% CI [1.7, 5.8]), drug use at last sex (AOR = 2.41, 95% CI [1.3, 4.5]), lifetime history of vaginal (AOR = 2.90, 95% CI [1.5, 5.5]) and anal sex (AOR = 2.09, 95% CI [1.2, 3.6]), and cocaine use (AOR = 8.53, 95% CI [2.7, 27.3]) were independently associated with having sex with a partner met online. Meeting sex partners online is associated with a variety of risks among African American youth; however, the Internet may be an opportunity for intervention.


Black African American Adolescent HIV STI Internet 



Supported by National Institutes of Health (NIMH) Grant: UO1 MH066785, a collaborative project awarded to participating sites: Rhode Island Hospital, Emory University, Syracuse University, University of South Carolina, and University of Pennsylvania and NIMH Grant: T32 MH07878 to Rhode Island Hospital (PI: L. Brown).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura B. Whiteley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Larry K. Brown
    • 1
  • Rebecca R. Swenson
    • 1
  • Robert F. Valois
    • 2
  • Peter A. Vanable
    • 3
  • Michael P. Carey
    • 3
  • Ralph DiClemente
    • 4
  • Laura F. Salazar
    • 4
  • Daniel Romer
    • 5
  1. 1.Bradley/Hasbro Children’s Research CenterRhode Island HospitalProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Arnold School of Public HealthUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychology and Center for Health and BehaviorSyracuse UniversitySyracuse, New YorkUSA
  4. 4.Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  5. 5.Annenberg Public Policy CenterUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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