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This Week In HIV Research

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This Week in HIV Research: Condoms in Porn Encourage Safer Sex; and Using Online Social Networks to Reach Suburban MSM for HIV Services

June 3, 2016

This week, a study found that watching porn in which the actors use condoms increased the likelihood that the men who have sex with men (MSM) viewing it also used condoms. Another study reported higher engagement among MSM seeking HIV services when public health workers reached out through Grindr, the online social networking app. To beat HIV, you have to follow the science!


Prevention

Porn With Condoms Encourages Safer Sex Practices in Viewers

Watching sexually explicit material (SEM) in which actors use condoms while engaged in anal sex increased the likelihood that MSM watching that material also used condoms during anal sex, a recent study published in PLOS One found.

The study surveyed 265 MSM in four U.S. cities who reported watching male same-sex SEM online. Respondents who viewed such internet porn frequently or compulsively did not report higher rates of condomless anal sex. However, those who viewed a greater proportion of such material that featured anal sex without condoms were less likely to use condoms when engaging in that activity themselves (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 1.25).

Conversely, MSM who watched more porn in which actors used condoms reported a higher rate of condom use during their own anal sex (IRR = 0.62). "The findings suggest that condom use by SEM performers may benefit not only actor health, but also have health implications for SEM viewers," study authors concluded.

Read: This Week in HIV Research: Synthetic Molecule May Help Develop New Fusion Inhibitor, and Hepatitis C Deaths on the Rise

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Using Online Social Networks to Reach Suburban MSM for HIV Services

The presence of a suburban public health department's outreach workers on Grindr, the all-male social network, led to a 14-fold increase in department contact with MSM, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Almost 70% of those contacting outreach workers through the platform continued their conversations even after learning that they were talking to an HIV/STD prevention educator. This continued engagement was more likely among men who self-identified as Asian or Latino than those who stated that they were white (P < .001).

The study was conducted in a California county that lacks physical venues for meeting MSM -- and thus locations where prevention messages might be disseminated. Previously, the department had relied on street outreach and dropping prevention materials off at certain distributors, as well as on "traditional social networking strategies." The health department has now integrated the Grindr approach into its other prevention activities, study authors reported.

Barbara Jungwirth is a freelance writer and translator based in New York.

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @reliabletran.


Copyright © 2016 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.


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