Article Text


UG3 Are geosocial networking (GSN) apps associated with increased risk of STIs & HIV: A systematic review
  1. Matheus Almeida1,
  2. Jo Gibbs1,2,
  3. Claudia Estcourt1
  1. 1Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
  2. 2University College London, London, UK


Background/introduction Geosocial networking (GSN) apps such as Tinder and Grindr provide new ways of finding sex partners. It is suggested that usage could be responsible for increased STI & HIV transmission.

Aim(s)/objectives To systematically review published literature to determine whether geosocial app use is associated with increased sexual risk behaviours, current and/or previous STIs & HIV.

Methods Search of PubMed, EMBASE and Google Scholar for studies involving women, men, men who have sex with men (MSM) and use of GSN apps for sex-seeking which reported risk factors for STIs & HIV transmission, published from 2009 to March 2016, in English. Search terms were associated using at least one regarding GSN apps and a second regarding STIs or sexual risk behaviours. Quality was assessed using Critical Appraisal Skills Programme criteria.

Results 13 studies met inclusion criteria: 12 cross-sectional studies, 1 review. All were in MSM from urban USA, China, Taiwan, UK and Ireland. In total there were 11924 subjects (range 92–7184). 7 studies reported app use to be associated with increased unprotected anal intercourse (UAI); 2 studies showed no association. 3 studies showed association with previous STI diagnoses, although association with HIV diagnoses had mixed results. 4 studies reported high response rate for app-based recruitment.

Discussion/conclusion Use of GSN apps is associated with factors known to facilitate STI & HIV transmission in MSM. Studies in heterosexuals are much needed. High uptake of some app-recruited studies suggests GSN apps could be useful platforms for sexual health promotion and targeted risk reduction strategies.

Statistics from

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.