Background: Men who have sex with men (MSM) bear a disproportionate burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which have been linked to meeting sexual partners online. The purpose of this analysis is to examine the association between prevalent STIs and mobile phone and/or internet use for “mostly sex-seeking” among black and Latino MSM.
Methods: A convenience sample of MSM from three U.S. cities (Chicago, IL, Kansas City, MO, and Fort Lauderdale, FL) was recruited via online and community outreach (N=853). Recruitment was stratified for black and Latino MSM, HIV-status, and condomless anal sex in the prior 3 months. MSM completed a computer-based assessment on self-reported demographics, mobile phone and Internet use mostly for sex-seeking, recent male sexual partners and history of STIs in the prior year. A multivariable logistic regression model was constructed to assess independent associations between these variables and self-reported STIs in the past year.
Results: Twenty-three percent of the men reported having an STI in the past year; 29% and 28% reported using a mobile phone and computer internet mostly for sex seeking, respectively, with 22% reporting both methods and 12% reporting one of the two. Number of male sexual partners was associated with any STI (aOR=1.03, 95% CI =1.00-1.06). Adjusting for number of sexual partners and single-method technology use, combined use of Internet and mobile phone was associated with any self-reported STI (aOR=2.59, 95% CI=1.75-3.83), as well as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis singularly within the past year (all p<.05).
Conclusions: Use of both Internet and mobile phone technology mostly for sex seeking is associated with self-reported STIs among black and Latino MSM, beyond number of partners and single technology method use. Enhanced MSM community STI prevention should include enhanced prevention and health information messaging to MSM through collaboration with sex-seeking internet and mobile application sites.