Acceptability and Preliminary Efficacy of an Online HIV Prevention Intervention for Single Young Men Who Have Sex with Men Seeking Partners Online: The myDEx Project

  • José A. BauermeisterEmail author
  • Ryan C. Tingler
  • Michele Demers
  • Daniel Connochie
  • Gage Gillard
  • John Shaver
  • Tanaka Chavanduka
  • Gary W. Harper
Original Paper


Prevention of new cases of HIV among young gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (YGBMSM; ages 18–24) remains a priority. We developed and pilot tested an online intervention (myDEx) using a pilot randomized trial design with 180 online-recruited single YGBMSM who reported recent unprotected anal intercourse, self-reporting as HIV negative or status-unaware, and who met sexual partners through online dating applications. myDEx participants reported higher overall satisfaction (d = 0.46) and willingness to recommend the intervention to friends (d = 0.48) than controls. myDEx participants were less likely to report foregoing condoms to achieve an emotional connection with a partner (d =0 .43), and more likely to report greater emotional regulation during their partner-seeking behaviors (d = 0.44). myDEx participants reported fewer partners with whom they had condomless receptive anal sex (d = 0.48). Our pilot results demonstrate the potential of the myDEx intervention, suggesting that a larger efficacy trial may be warranted in the future.


mHealth Decisional balance Limerence LGBT Sexual behavior 


La prevención de nuevos casos de VIH entre jóvenes gays, bisexuales y otros hombres que tienen sexo con hombres (YGBMSM; edades 18-24) sigue siendo una prioridad. Desarrollamos una intervención en línea (myDEx) y utilizamos un estudio piloto en un diseño aleatorio controlado con una muestra de 180 YGBMSM. Los participantes, reclutados en línea, fueron elegibles si tuvieron relaciones sexuales anales sin protección, informaron ser VIH negativo o serodesconocido, y buscaron parejas sexuales a través de aplicaciones sociales. En contraste con el grupo control, los participantes de myDEx informaron mayor satisfacción (d = .46) y disposición a recomendar la intervención a sus amigos (d = .48). Los participantes de myDEx disminuyeron la propensidad a evitar el uso de condones para lograr una conexión emocional con un compañero (d = .43), y una mejora en la regulación emocional durante la búsqueda de parejas (d = .44). Los participantes de myDEx redujeron el número de parejas con las que tuvieron relaciones sexuales anales receptivas sin condón (d = .48). Nuestros resultados piloto demuestran el potencial de la intervención myDEx y justifican un estudio de eficacia en el futuro.



We greatly appreciate the hard work of the study staff, and are indebted to the study participants for volunteering their time. This research was sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), under R34 MH101997. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.


This research was sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), under R34 MH101997. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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