Introduction Evidence suggests that sex partner meeting places may be important locales to access men who have sex with men (MSM) to implement targeted HIV control strategies. Little is known about how patterns of these places have changed over time and whether there are new and emerging meeting places.
Methods The objectives of this study were to 1) describe the frequency of report of MSM sex partner meeting places over time, 2) to compare frequently reported meeting places over a five year period and in the past year, and 3) in a subset analysis, compare distributions of mean HIV viral loads, as a proxy for HIV transmission risk, of reported meeting places among newly HIV diagnosed MSM in Baltimore City, Maryland.
Results 869 sex partner meeting places were reported, including 306 unique places. Internet-based sites (38%) and bars/clubs (31%) were the most frequently reported meeting place typologies. Over the five year period there was variability in the frequencies of reports of meeting place typologies over time. Among internet-based sites and bars/clubs, 3/5 and 4/5 respectively most frequently reported sites over the five years were also in the top five most frequently reported in the most recent year. The distribution of mean viral load by place typology was not significantly different overall (Fisher’s exact p = 0.700) or between bars/clubs compared to internet-based sites (Fisher’s exact p = 0.863).
Conclusion This study provides a richer understanding of sex partner meeting places reported by MSM over time and their transmission potential.
Disclosure of interest statement The Centre for Child and Community Health Research (CCHR) and the Baltimore City Health Department were funded for this work by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the NIH. No pharmaceutical grants were received in the development of this study.
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