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U of M study: Online intervention paramount for reducing HIV in high-risk population
Date:4/29/2008

ST. PAUL / MINNEAPOLIS (April 29, 2008) Young Internet-using men who have sex with men AND who meet their sexual partners both online and offline have greater numbers of partners, appear more likely to contract HIV, and report higher substance use rates than those who meet their partners exclusively online or offline, according to new research at the University of Minnesota.

A greater percentage of the group reported unprotected anal intercourse (43 percent) in the past three months, according to the research. A smaller number of those who met partners exclusively online (29 percent) or exclusively offline (34 percent) reported having unprotected anal sex in the past three months.

Men who have sex with men who met partners exclusively offline reported the fewest number of partners, but the greatest number of partnerships involving unprotected anal intercourse (49 percent). Meeting partners both online and offline and being drunk or high during the last sexual encounter increased the odds of having more partners and engaging in unprotected anal intercourse.

Weve known since about 2000 that the Internet has dramatically changed HIV risk for gay men and other men who have sex with men, said Simon Rosser, Ph.D., principal investigator on the study and professor in the School of Public Healths Division of Epidemiology and Community Health. But the early reports were small case studies with very broad results. What is so exciting about this paper is that we starting to understand some of the more subtle differences so we can get beyond broad generalizations to a real understanding of the risk, and then design effective responses.

Young men, ages 18-24, who have sex with men are disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. In 2003, male-to-male sexual contact accounted for 74 percent of HIV diagnoses among young males between the ages of 13 and 24 years in the United States. And the esti
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Contact: Nick Hanson
hans2853@umn.edu
612-624-2449
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

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