As part of a wider study of Internet-using Latino men who have sex with men (MSM), we studied the likelihood that HIV-negative (n=200) and HIV-positive (n=50) Latino MSM would engage in sexual negotiations and disclosure of their HIV status prior to their first sexual encounters with men met over the Internet. We also analyzed the sexual behaviors that followed online encounters. Our results showed that both HIV-negative and positive men were significantly more likely to engage in sexual negotiation and serostatus disclosure on the Internet than in person. Those who engaged in sexual negotiations were also more likely to use condoms for anal intercourse. Compared to HIV-negative MSM, HIV-positive MSM were significantly less likely to disclose their serostatus, and 41% of them acknowledged having misrepresented their serostatus to a prospective sexual partner met over the Internet. Although similar proportions of HIV-positive and negative men had condomless anal intercourse, HIV-positive MSM were more likely to report lack of intention to use condoms. Pleasure was the reason most frequently cited for lack of condom use. Cybersex was reported by only one-fifth of the sample. We conclude that the Internet, an understudied milieu of sexual networking, may present new possibilities for the implementation of risk reduction strategies, such as the promotion of sexual negotiation prior to first in-person encounter and serostatus disclosure.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments This study was funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS, grant number MH6388 (B.R.S. Rosser). We would like to thank the participants who kindly gave their time for this study. We would also like to thank Ana Ventuneac for assisting with the preparation of the tables.
- HIV status
- Unprotected anal intercourse