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Patterns of Online and Offline Connectedness Among Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men

Abstract

This study examined patterns of connectedness among 774 sexually-active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBM), aged ≥ 16 years, recruited using respondent-driven sampling in Metro Vancouver. Latent class analysis examined patterns of connectedness including: attendance at gay venues/events (i.e., bars/clubs, community groups, pride parades), social time spent with GBM, use of online social and sex seeking apps/websites, and consumption of gay media. Multinomial regression identified correlates of class membership. A three-class LCA solution was specified: Class 1 “Socialites” (38.8%) were highly connected across all indicators. Class 2 “Traditionalists” (25.7%) were moderately connected, with little app/website-use. Class 3 “Techies” (35.4%) had high online connectedness and relatively lower in-person connectedness. In multivariable modelling, Socialites had higher collectivism than Traditionalists, who had higher collectivism than Techies. Socialites also had higher annual incomes than other classes. Techies were more likely than Traditionalists to report recent serodiscordant or unknown condomless anal sex and HIV risk management practices (e.g., ask their partner’s HIV status, get tested for HIV). Traditionalists on the other hand were less likely to practice HIV risk management and had lower HIV/AIDS stigma scores than Socialites. Further, Traditionalists were older, more likely to be partnered, and reported fewer male sex partners than men in other groups. These findings highlight how patterns of connectedness relate to GBM’s risk management.

Resumen

Este estudio examinó los patrones de conexión entre 774 hombres gay, bisexuales, y otros hombres que tienen sexo con otros hombres, sexualmente activos (HGB), que son mayores de 16 años, reclutados con un muestreo controlado por los mismos participantes en el área de Vancouver. El análisis de clases latentes (ACL) examinó los patrones de conexión incluyendo: la asistencia a eventos y lugares gay (por e.j., bares/clubs, grupos comunitarios, desfiles de orgullo gay), el tiempo que pasaron socializando con otros HGB, el uso de aplicaciones y páginas del Web para buscar sexo, y la consumición de medios gay. Una estadística de regresión multinomial encontró una relación entre los miembros pertenecientes al grupo. Se especificaron tres clases de ACL: Clase 1 “los socialites” (38.8%) estuvieron altamente conectados a travez de todos los indicadores. Clase 2 “los tradicionalistas” (25.7%) estuvieron moderadamente conectados, con muy poco uso de aplicaciones/páginas web. Clase 3 “los techies” (35.4%) tuvieron un alto uso de internet y relativamente poco interacción en persona. En el modelado multivariable, “los socialites” tenían un colectivismo más alto que “los tradicionalistas.” “Los tradicionalistas” tenían un colectivismo más alto que “los techies.” “Los socialites” también tenían ingresos anuales más altos que los hombres asignados a otras clases. “Los techies” era más probable que “los tradicionalistas” a divulgar el sexo anal sin condones con un socio serodiscordante o con un socio del estado VIH desconocído. “Los techies” era también más probable preguntar la situación del VIH de su socio antes de tener sexo y haber recibido una prueba para el VIH. “Los tradicionalistas” por otra parte eran menos probable practicar la gestión de riesgos del VIH y tenían cuentas más bajas sobre la estigma de HIV/AIDS que “los socialites.” Además, “los tradicionalistas” eran más viejos y eran más probable parejados. “Los tradicionalistas” también divulgaron a menos parejas sexuales masculinas que hombres en otros grupos. Estos conclusions recalcan cómo los modelos de conexión se relacionan con el gestión de riesgos de HGB.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Kirk J. Hepburn for editing this manuscript prior to publication; the r/translator community for assistance in Spanish language translation; the Momentum Study participants, office staff and community advisory board; and our community partner agencies: Health Initiative for Men, YouthCO HIV and Hep C Society, and Positive Living Society of BC. Momentum is funded through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA031055-01A1) and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (MOP-107544, 143342, PJT-153139). NJL was supported by a CANFAR/CTN Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. DMM is supported by a Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (#5209). JSGM is supported with grants paid to his institution by the British Columbia Ministry of Health and by the US National Institutes of Health (R01DA036307). HLA is supported by a Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Grant # MFE-152443).

Funding

This study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA031055- 01A1) and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (MOP-107544, 143342).

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Correspondence to Kiffer G. Card.

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Kiffer G. Card, Heather Armstrong, Nathan J. Lachowsky, Zishan Cui, Julia Zhu, Robert S. Hogg, Eric A. Roth declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committees at Simon Fraser University, The University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Card, K.G., Armstrong, H.L., Lachowsky, N.J. et al. Patterns of Online and Offline Connectedness Among Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men. AIDS Behav 22, 2147–2160 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-017-1939-7

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Keywords

  • Gay and bisexual
  • Community
  • Risk Management
  • HIV
  • Latent class analysis