Newly diagnosed men often 'hooked up' online https://news.brown.edu/articles/2016/02/msm A significant online component Of the 74 new HIV cases in Rhode Island in 2013, three in 10 occurred among men who told researchers they believed they were infected by a man met online.Brown University February 26, 2016 Contact: David Orenstein 401-863-1862 A new study finds a strong correlation between new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men in Rhode Island and their use of online hookup sites. [Brown University] - More than 60 percent of Rhode Island men who have sex with men (MSM) diagnosed with HIV in 2013 reported meeting sexual partners online in the preceding year, according to a study published today in the journal Public Health Reports.Many of the individuals newly diagnosed in Rhode Island were diagnosed late in the course of their infection, the study showed.Nunn said this suggests that they may have been living HIV for a long time, and potentially unknowingly transmitting HIV to other people, including partners they met online.Study authors at Brown University, The Miriam Hospital, and the Rhode Island Department of Health called for operators of hookup websites and apps to work with public health officials to include more prevention messaging. Study authors at Brown University, The Miriam Hospital, and the Rhode Island Department of Health said companies that produce hookup websites and apps should partner with public health groups, to share public health messages about the risks of sexual encounters arranged online.For instance, sites and apps could provide affordable advertising access to help prevent infection in communities that are most impacted by HIV.Craigslist and Scruff ads are free, the authors said, but staff at small non-profit or government agencies face logistical challenges in messaging in these venues, such as having to continually repost ads.
This Rhode Island case study demonstrated widespread use of hookup sites among MSM recently diagnosed with HIV.
"Prevention messaging is a vital tool in our work to prevent new HIV transmissions in Rhode Island," said study co-author Dr.
Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health.
"Reducing disease transmission should be part of these organizations' corporate social responsibility programs." The researchers document recent advertising costs in their study, which can quickly run into the thousands of dollars.
"We would like to see more of these companies stepping up to the plate to work with public health departments," Chan said. In 2014, the study notes, HIV infections in Rhode Island grew by 97 new diagnoses, again mostly among MSM.