Are sexual partners met online associated with HIV/STI risk behaviours? Retrospective and daily diary data in conflict

AIDS Care. 2007 Jul;19(6):822-7. doi: 10.1080/09540120701237244.


The association between Internet sex-seeking and sexual risk-taking was explored using both retrospective and daily diary methodology. Men who have sex with men (MSM) (N=113) were recruited through a variety of Internet sites. Participants completed retrospective questionnaires on their history of Internet use to seek sexual partners and their engagement in sexual risk-taking behaviours. Participants also completed daily diaries for up to 30 days, which assessed if partners were met through the Internet and what types of sexual contact occurred. Multilevel modelling was used to analyze the daily diary data. The retrospective and daily diary data produced opposite results. In the retrospective data, a history of online sex-seeking was associated with greater numbers of sexual partners in the last year, one-time sex partners, sex without condoms and failure to discuss partners' sexual histories. In the daily diary data, unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) was less likely to occur with partners met online than with partners met by other means. These data suggest that men who engage in high-risk sex with other men use the Internet as a tool for meeting sexual partners, not that meeting partners online causes high-risk sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Unsafe Sex / prevention & control*
  • Unsafe Sex / psychology