Attitudes About the Use of Geosocial Networking Applications for HIV/STD Partner Notification: A Qualitative Study

AIDS Educ Prev. 2019 Jun;31(3):273-285. doi: 10.1521/aeap.2019.31.3.273.


Meeting sex partners through geosocial networking (GSN) apps is common among men who have sex with men (MSM). MSM may choose not to exchange contact information with partners met through GSN apps, limiting their own and health departments' ability to notify partners of HIV/STD exposure through standard notification methods. Using online focus groups (four groups; N = 28), we explored the perspectives of U.S. MSM regarding offer of partner notification features through GSN apps. Most participants were comfortable with HIV/STD partner notification delivered via GSN apps, either by partner services staff using a health department profile or through an in-app anonymous messaging system. While most participants expressed a responsibility to notify partners on their own, app-based partner notification methods may be preferred for casual or hard-to-reach partners. However, participants indicated that health departments will need to build trust with MSM app users to ensure acceptable and effective app-based delivery of partner notification.

Keywords: HIV; MSM; STDs; geosocial networking applications; partner notification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contact Tracing / methods*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Homosexuality, Male*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Partners
  • Social Networking*
  • United States