Social Media and Mobile-App use for Sexual Encounters among Men Who Have Sex With Men in Puerto Rico

Vivian Colón-López, Nadia Centeno-Alvarado, Ivony Y. Agudelo-Salas, Maureen M. Canario de la Torre, Sandra Miranda de León, Yadira Rolón-Colón, Jorge Rodríguez, María Pabón-Martínez


Objective: To describe the use and frequency of use of mobile apps (internetand/ or smartphone-based geospatial networking apps) among men who have sex with men (MSM) and how these platforms are used to engage with sexual partners in PR. Methods: A local module including questions regarding mobile apps and sexual engagement and derived from the 2017 Puerto Rico National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System, fifth MSM cycle, was used for this analysis. A subsample of 127 eligible participants was recruited through venue-based sampling and assented to participate. Univariate analysis was used to evaluate sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics, HIV testing, and the ways in which mobile apps are used to find sexual partners. Results: The participants’ median age was 35 years, with a standard deviation of ±11.37 years. Most of our sample (97%) had had anal sex with at least 1 partner in the last 12 months, and 76% of them had had condomless anal sex. Over three fourths (81%) reported using apps for sexual encounters, while 45% stated that the most frequently used app was Grindr. Of the participants who had used apps for sexual encounters, 57% had met 5 or more sexual partners through apps in their lifetime. Conclusion: This study shows that there is a need for further research to understand the habits of this population in PR regarding the use of apps to find sexual partners and, also, as a possible way to develop strategies for prevention and health promotion in this group.


HIV/AIDS, MSM, internet, smartphone-based geospatial networking apps, Puerto Rico

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