Meeting sex partners through the Internet, risky sexual behavior, and HIV testing among sexually transmitted infections clinic patients

Arch Sex Behav. 2015 Feb;44(2):509-19. doi: 10.1007/s10508-014-0463-3. Epub 2015 Jan 8.


The Internet has now become a popular venue to meet sex partners. People who use the Internet to meet sex partners may be at a higher risk for contracting HIV and STIs. This study examined the association between meeting sex partners from the Internet, and HIV testing, STI history, and risky sexual behavior. Data were obtained from the Virginia Department of Health STD Surveillance Network. Logistic regression models were used to obtain crude and adjusted odds ratios, and 95 % confidence intervals for the associations between meeting sex partners through the Internet and ever tested for HIV, HIV testing in the past 12 months, STI history, and risky sexual behavior. Logistic regression was also used to determine if gender and men who have sex with men interaction terms significantly improved the model. Women who met a sex partner from the Internet were more likely to have had an HIV test in the past 12 months than women who did not meet a partner in this way. On the other hand, men who met a sex partner through the Internet were more likely to have ever had an HIV test than other men, but this was only seen for heterosexual men. All populations who met a sex partner from the Internet were more likely to take part in risky sexual behavior. HIV prevention strategies should emphasize annual testing for all populations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Courtship*
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / diagnosis*
  • Heterosexuality
  • Homosexuality, Male*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Virginia
  • Young Adult