International AIDS Society


Internet as a new venue to access high-risk men who have sex with men (MSM) from a resource-constrained setting

M. Blas1, I. Alva2, R. Cabello2, P. García1, M. Redmon3, A. Kurth4, A. Kimball4, R. Ryan3

Background: To describe the feasibility of a Web-based Internet survey that assesses sexual risk behaviors for HIV/Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) among users of a prominent Peruvian Gay Web site.

Methods: Two almost identical banner ads linked to identical online surveys were displayed randomly. One of the banner ads offered free HIV/syphilis tests and condoms at our site, ‘Via Libre’, while the other banner ad did not offer an incentive.

Results: During the first month (January 2006), 674 men completed the survey, with 61% having responded to the banner ad that offered free testing. Among all participants, 66% did not know their HIV status, 30% were HIV negative and 4% were HIV positive. 51% participants accessed the Internet through commercial cybercafés; 72% were homosexual and 28% bisexual. 81% of the participants reported seeking sexual partners on the Internet and 65% reported having sex with a partner met online. In the previous 6 months, 40% of participants had STI symptoms, but only 27% received a diagnosis. Regarding their most recent sexual partner 65% reported sex with a casual partner and 6% with a commercial sex worker. In their most recent sexual encounter, 50%, 49% and 63% of those reporting insertive anal sex, receptive anal sex and insertive vaginal sex respectively did not use condoms; 66% of the participants did not discuss HIV before having sex and 85% of the HIV positive participants did not disclose their status. In terms of modalities for accessing HIV/STI prevention messages, 93% of the participants were interested in Web pages, 87% in chat rooms, 81% in emails, 82% in e-groups, and 57% in cell phones.

Conclusions: The Internet is a powerful and cost-effective tool for reaching Peruvian high-risk MSM. Future research should explore the Internet as a means of increasing both STI testing and delivery of other prevention services to Peruvian MSM.

AIDS 2006 - XVI International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. MOPE0467

Suggested Citation
"M.Blas, et al. Internet as a new venue to access high-risk men who have sex with men (MSM) from a resource-constrained setting. : AIDS 2006 - XVI International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. MOPE0467"