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Characterizing Geosocial-Networking App Use Among Young Black Men Who Have Sex With Men: A Multi-City Cross-Sectional Survey in the Southern United States.

Abstract

Use of geosocial networking apps to meet sexual partners among our sample of YBMSM in the southern United States was common, with a diverse range of app use behaviors being reported. Further research should characterize the association between geosocial networking app use and engagement in sexual behaviors that increase risk for HIV acquisition and transmission. In addition, geosocial networking apps present a promising platform for HIV prevention interventions targeting YBMSM who use these apps.

Data were collected from a sample of 75 YBMSM across three cities (Gulfport, Mississippi; Jackson, Mississippi; and New Orleans, Louisiana). Multiple aspects of geosocial networking app use were assessed, including overall app use, age of participant at first app use, specific apps used, reasons for app use, photos presented on apps, logon times and duration, number of messages sent and received, and characteristics of and behaviors with partners met on apps. Survey measures of app-met partner and sexual behavior characteristics assessed at midpoint (Day 7) and completion visits (Day 14) were compared using McNemar's test or Wilcoxon signed-rank test. In addition, we assessed activity spaces derived from GPS devices that participants wore for 2 weeks.

Understanding where and how young black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) in the southern United States meet their sexual partners is germane to understanding the underlying factors contributing to the ongoing HIV transmission in this community. Men who have sex with men (MSM) commonly use geosocial networking apps to meet sexual partners. However, there is a lack of literature exploring geosocial networking app use in this particular population.

Our aim was to examine the characteristics, preferences, and behaviors of a geographically diverse sample of geosocial networking app-using YBMSM in the southern United States.

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