Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Public Health and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Comparison of risk behaviors and socio-cultural profile of men who have sex with men survey respondents recruited via venues and the internet

Hi Yi Tsui and Joseph TF Lau*

Author Affiliations

Centre for Health Behaviours Research, School of Public Health and Primary Care Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2010, 10:232  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-232

Published: 6 May 2010

Abstract

Background

Increasingly more men who have sex with men (MSM) are using the internet to seek sex partners, and many HIV-related studies targeting MSM collect data from gay venues in order to inform the design of prevention programs. However, internet-based MSM may have different HIV risk behaviors and associated factors from those attending venues. This study examined differences in risk behaviors and socio-cultural profiles between MSM recruited from venues (e.g., gay bars/saunas) and from the internet respectively.

Methods

An anonymous cross-sectional survey was conducted. A total of 566 Chinese MSM (340 recruited from gay-venues and 226 recruited from the internet) who self-reported having had anal or oral sex with another man in the last 12 months completed a structured questionnaire.

Results

Internet-based MSM were more likely than venue-based MSM to have engaged in unprotected anal intercourse (53.3% vs. 33.8%) or commercial sex (as clients: 12.8% vs. 5.3%; as sex workers: 6.2% vs. 1.5%), to have sought MSM partners from the internet (51.3% vs. 20.9%), and to have contracted sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in the last 12 months (4.4% vs. 0.3%). On the other hand, internet-based MSM were less likely to have multiple sex partners (58.4% vs. 75.6%) and to have used psychoactive substances (7.1% vs. 15.6%) or drunk alcohol before sex (8.8% vs. 16.2%). Moreover, internet-based MSM reported poor acceptance of their own sexual orientation, felt more discriminated against, and received less social support than venue-recruited MSM.

Conclusions

Significant differences were observed between the two groups of MSM. Segmentation and targeted interventions are recommended when designing preventive interventions.