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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

CUNY: Using the Internet for HIV Research and Prevention

In the U.S., men who have sex with men (MSM) are 44 times more likely to contract human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) than other men, and accounted for 67 percent of new infections in 2016. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, if current trends continue unabated, one-in-six MSM will acquire HIV in their lifetime.

In light of this disparity, researchers including CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and health policy professor Dr. Christian Grov are searching for new ways to engage these high-risk populations for treatment and prevention. In 2014, Dr. Grov and colleagues published a comprehensive review cataloging how MSM transitioned to using the internet to find sexual partners from the 1990s through 2013, as well as researchers’ efforts to utilize the internet to engage MSM in HIV research, treatment, and prevention. In an article published recently in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, Dr. Grov and colleagues from CUNY focus on research and events having occurred since that review was published.

The researchers note that, over the past five years, MSM increasingly used geosocial networking apps such as Grindr and Scruff and used HIV prevention strategies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Researchers have expanded their employment of internet-mediated methods for recruiting and engaging participants for HIV research, treatment, and prevention. The article discussed methodological considerations for using the internet to conduct HIV prevention research with MSM, including sources of recruitment, study design, incentives, confidentiality, and ensuring a diverse swath of MSM are represented.

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