Background Men who have sex with men (MSM) are affected by HIV more than any other group in the US, accounting for more than half of all new HIV infections annually. Within this group, young Black MSM (13–24) have had the highest increase in new infections. Characterizing sex partner meeting places of newly diagnosed HIV-infected MSM by race and age may help to identify locations for targeted control strategies in the populations most at risk. Targeted HIV control strategies seek to prevent HIV transmission by focusing specifically on those most likely to transmit, i.e. those with new infections or high viral loads. The objective of this study was to describe sex partner meeting place typologies and their distribution by age and race among newly diagnosed HIV-infected MSM in Baltimore, Maryland.
Methods Using retrospective surveillance data of newly diagnosed HIV-infected MSM reported to the Baltimore City Health Department from 2009–2011, we identified the most frequently reported sex partner meeting place typologies and characterised their distribution by age and race.
Results Among 243 reports of newly diagnosed HIV-infected MSM, 91% (220) were interviewed, and 64% (141) of those interviewed provided information on their sex partner meeting places in the past 12 months. Among the 141, 45% reported a bar or club, 41% reported using the internet, and 20% reported other places such as street corner or school. Meeting sex partners via the internet was more frequently reported by younger (≤ 24 years) compared to older MSM (49% vs. 34%, respectively) and Black compared to white MSM (43% vs. 28%, respectively).
Conclusion Among those who reported sex partner meeting places, young (vs. older) and Black (vs. white) MSM more frequently reported meeting sex partners via the internet. The internet may be an important location for targeted HIV control strategies especially among young Black MSM.
- Sex partner meeting place