AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 527–536 | Cite as

Barebacking, the Internet, and Harm Reduction: An Intercept Survey with Gay and Bisexual Men in Los Angeles and New York City

  • Christian Grov
  • Jonathan A. DeBusk
  • David S. Bimbi
  • Sarit A. Golub
  • Jose E. Nanin
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
Original Paper


Researchers have suggested that intentional unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) among gay and bisexual men (colloquially called barebacking), is on the rise. Further, they have linked this increase in barebacking to the growth of the Internet as a medium for men to meet sex partners. Data were used from large-scale gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) community events in New York and Los Angeles collected between 2003 and 2004. In total 1178 men who have sex with men (MSM) responded to questions about the use of the Internet, willingness to have unplanned UAI, intentions toward planned UAI, and “barebacker identity.” Compared to nonbarebackers, barebackers spent significantly more time on the Internet looking for sex and looking for dates. Further, HIV-positive barebackers specifically spent the most time online looking for dates. Further analyses of willingness and intentions to have UAI, and the specific sexual behaviors of self-identified barebackers, found evidence of strategic positioning and serosorting, both harm reduction strategies. These data suggest both HIV-positive and HIV-negative barebackers may be engaged in efforts to reduce the risk of HIV transmission when engaged in unprotected sex.


Barebacking MSM Internet Harm Reduction Strategic Positioning Serosorting MANOVA 



This study was part of the larger “Sex and Love Survey Version 2.0” funded by the Hunter College Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST). The authors would like to thank the other members of the “Sex and Love” research team and acknowledge their hard work and input.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Grov
    • 1
    • 4
  • Jonathan A. DeBusk
    • 1
    • 4
  • David S. Bimbi
    • 2
    • 4
  • Sarit A. Golub
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • Jose E. Nanin
    • 4
    • 6
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Sociology, The Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Subprogram in Social/Personality Psychology, The Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, Hunter College-CUNYCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST), Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Psychology, Queens CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Kingsborough CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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