Demographics, Behaviors, and Sexual Health Characteristics of High Risk Men Who Have Sex With Men and Transgender Women Who Use Social Media to Meet Sex Partners in Lima, Peru

April 2017 - Structural Prevention

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Chow, J.Y., Konda, K.A., Calvo, G.M., et al. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (March 2017), 44(3):143–148, doi:10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000566.

This study compared the demographic and sexual characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TW) who did and did not use social media to make sexual connections. A total of 312 MSM and 89 TW received testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and answered a survey covering demographics, behaviors, sexual health, and social media practices. Fewer than half of MSM and TW used social media to find sex partners (115 and 29, respectively), using a variety of sites and applications. MSM who used social media were younger, more educated, and more likely to identify as gay. They were significantly more likely to report high-risk behavior (more sex partners; sex in higher-risk venues and contexts) and to present with a rectal STI. TW with social media sex partners were younger, less educated, and more likely to participate in sex work; they had a lower rate of rapid plasma reagin positivity or history of syphilis. About one-third of participants (118) were HIV-positive. The authors called for strategies targeting Peruvian MSM and TW who use social media to address their higher-risk sexual behavior and the high burden of STIs in these two groups.

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