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Internet use and risk behaviors: an online survey of visitors to three gay websites in China
  1. Dapeng Zhang
  1. Discipline of Public Health, University of Adelaide,, Australia
    1. Peng Bi (peng.bi{at}adelaide.edu.au)
    1. Discipline of Public Health, University of Adelaide,, Australia
      1. Fan Lv
      1. Department of Epidemiology, National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, China
        1. Houlin Tang
        1. Department of Epidemiology, National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, China
          1. Janet E Hiller
          1. Discipline of Public Health, the University of Adelaide, Australia

            Abstract

            Objectives: To describe the risk behaviors of visitors to gay websites and to explore the role of the Internet in the HIV transmission among the Chinese men who have sex with men (MSM).

            Methods: Between May and August, 2006, visitors of three Chinese gay websites were invited to complete an online questionnaire about the use of the Internet and risk sexual behaviors.

            Results: The median age of the online sample was 24 years old (range 15-64). Over three quarters (76.1) had an education of college or higher. Only 32.1% of the online sample reported little or no risk for HIV transmission. These men had either had no anal intercourse (13.2%) or had always used a condom for anal intercourse (18.9%). Although only about half of the participants reported that their main purpose of visiting the gay websites was to look for sexual partners, most participants (85.9%) had used the Internet to seek partners. Compared with men seeking sexual partners only on the Internet, men seeking partners both in traditional gay venues and on the Internet were older, less educated, more likely to have more than six partners in the past six months and more likely to have commercial sex behaviors.

            Conclusion: The users of the gay websites are relatively young and well educated, and highly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, given their low prevalence of consistent condom use and multiple risk sexual behaviors. Effective intervention programs should be implemented and strengthened in China, especially for those who seek sexual partners both on the Internet and in traditional gay venues.

            • China
            • Internet
            • Men who have sex with men
            • Sexual behavior

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