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Gay Apps for Seeking Sex Partners in China: Implications for MSM Sexual Health

Abstract

Anti-gay stigma and harsh local environments in many low and middle-income countries (LMIC) encourage men who have sex with men (MSM) partner-seeking mobile application (gay app) use. To investigate the sexual risk profiles of gay app users and guide future HIV prevention programs, we conducted a cross-sectional online survey among 1,342 MSM in China examining associations between gay app use and sexual behaviors, including HIV and sexually transmitted disease testing. Compared to non-app users, app users were more likely to be younger, better educated, “out” about their sexual orientation, and single. They were also more likely to report multiple recent sex partners and HIV testing, but there was no difference in condomless sex between the two groups. Future research among MSM in LMIC is needed to characterize gay app use and explore its potential for future public health interventions.

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Acknowledgments

Thanks to Roger Meng for technical assistance and Dr. John Doucette at Mount Sinai for assistance with statistical analysis. This research was supported by the NIH FIC (1D43TW009532-01), NIAID (1R01AI114310-01), NIMH (R00MH093201), NICHD (R24 HD056670), Fogarty Global Health Scholars Program, and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Morehead-Cain Foundation, and an NIH training Grant (5T32AI007001-35). We would like to thank GZTZ, Chongqing MSM Community Support Center, the Guangdong Provincial STD Control Center, SESH Global (www.seshglobal.org) and UNC Project-China.

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Correspondence to Joseph D. Tucker.

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Cedric H. Bien and John M. Best have contributed equally to this research manuscript.

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Bien, C.H., Best, J.M., Muessig, K.E. et al. Gay Apps for Seeking Sex Partners in China: Implications for MSM Sexual Health. AIDS Behav 19, 941–946 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-014-0994-6

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Keywords

  • Mobile apps
  • Men who have sex with men
  • HIV
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • China