The Association between Use of Online Social Networks to Find Sex Partners and Sexually Transmitted Infection Diagnosis among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men and Transgender Women Living with HIV

J Int Assoc Provid AIDS Care. 2019 Jan-Dec:18:2325958219867324. doi: 10.1177/2325958219867324.


We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions to examine the association between the use of social media sites to find sex partners and recent diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among 13- to 24-year-old men who have sex with men and transgender women living with HIV. We used linear regression to determine the relationship between the number of STIs and the number of social media sites used to find sex partners with each type of sex act included in the analysis. Secondary analyses substituted frequency of social media site use for number of social media sites. Among 741 participants, for every 1 social media account used to find sex partners, there was a 2.53% (95% confidence interval: 0.28-5.54) increase in STIs. This association was mediated through condomless receptive anal intercourse or condomless insertive anal intercourse but not barrierless oral intercourse. Similar but attenuated associations were found when frequency of social media site use was substituted for number of social media sites. Future research should examine innovative interventions on these social media sites with respect for its users.

Keywords: condomless anal sex; men who have sex with men; sexually transmitted infection; social media; technology; youth living with HIV.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / etiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / virology
  • Social Networking*
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Transgender Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Young Adult