Background/introduction Mobile Phone ‘apps’ such as grindr© are becoming a more frequent and convenient way to meet sexual partners and may be a reason why sexually transmitted infections(STI) are increasing in MSM.
Methods From November 2015 to February 2016, a paper survey was distributed to MSM attending local sexual health services on acceptability of local service, including use of mobile phone applications to meet sexual partners. National Student Pride also used an online version of the survey.
Results 1186 MSM were included in the analysis of this survey. The median age was 26.8 years (18–89). 1026/1186 (86.5%) self-identified as gay, 108/1186 (9.1%) bisexual and 34/1186 (2.9%) straight. 918/1186 (77.4%) were HIV-negative, 42/1186 (3.5%) HIV-positive, 188/1186 (15.9%) never tested, and 38/1186 (3.2%) unknown status. 200/1186 (16.9%) of respondents reported a bacterial STI within the past 12 months: 116/1186 (9.8%) had gonorrhoea, 96/1186 (8.1%) chlamydia and 26/1186 (2.2%) syphilis. Reported use of grindr© was: 372/1186 (31.4%) more than once/day, 168/1186 (14.2%) more than once/week 124/1186 (10.5%) more than once/month. Those who used grindr© more than once per day reported having had gonorrhoea (62/372:16.7%), chlamydia (50/372:13.4%) and syphilis (16/372:4.3%) in the past 12 months. 80/116 (70.0%), 64/96 (67%) and 16/26 (62%) MSM who reported having gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis in the past 12 months reported using grindr© at least once a month. MSM were significantly more likely to report having gonorrhoea and chlamydia (but not syphilis) in the past 12 months using grindr© at least once per month compared to never using grindr(t-test = 2.79; p = 0.003), (t-test = 2.20; p = 0.028), (t-tst = 0.58; p = 0.565).
Discussion/conclusion Use of the mobile phone application grindr© is associated with acquisition of bacterial STIs. Public health interventions to reduce STI rates in MSM should include using appropriate social media.