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Public Health. 2012 Jun;126(6):471-81. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2012.01.023. Epub 2012 May 3.

Anonymous sex and HIV risk practices among men using the Internet specifically to find male partners for unprotected sex.

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1
Kensington Research Institute, 401 Schuyler Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA. hughk@aol.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine the popularity of anonymous sex practices among men using the Internet to find male partners for unprotected sex, and how anonymous sex relates to involvement in other HIV-related risk behaviours, and to investigate the factors associated with engaging in anonymous sex.

STUDY DESIGN:

Structured telephone interviews were conducted with men who used the Internet specifically to find male partners for unprotected sex. Random sampling from 16 websites was used to obtain a national sample. The data reported in this paper were based on quantitative interviews collected with a cross-sectional study design.

METHODS:

Between January 2008 and May 2009, confidential telephone interviews lasting approximately 1-2 h were completed with 332 men. Participants were paid $35 for their participation.

RESULTS:

Most of the men (67.4%) liked anonymous sex, and slightly more than half (51.2%) had engaged in the behaviour during the month prior to interview. Involvement in anonymous sex was associated with greater involvement in a variety of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related risk practices, such as illegal drug use, number of sex partners, and amount of unprotected sex. Four factors were associated with having vs not having anonymous sex: (1) being HIV positive; (2) answering all of the HIV-related knowledge questions correctly; (3) deriving greater enjoyment from having sex in public places, such as parks, public toilets, or adult book shops; and (4) greater impulsivity. Seven factors were associated with greater vs lesser involvement in anonymous sex among those practising the behaviour: (1) being involved in a relationship with a long-term partner; (2) liking to have sex in public places; (3) using bareback-oriented websites to identify sex partners; (4) greater impulsivity; (5) low level of condom use self-efficacy; (6) greater knowledge about HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; and either (7a) severe childhood maltreatment or (7b) Caucasian race.

CONCLUSIONS:

Men in this population often sought anonymous sex, and this practice was related to involvement in a variety of risky behaviours, such as illegal drug use and the number of recent sex partners (among others). Interventionists should address anonymous sex practices among Internet-using, risk-seeking men in order to reduce the overall levels of HIV risk involvement.

PMID:
22559946
DOI:
10.1016/j.puhe.2012.01.023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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