In a study published in AIDS Behavior, researchers were able to shed some light on the use of dating aps and Websites by men who have sex with men (MSM). The study showed that 3 in 4 MSM use Internet-based social media venues for the purpose of meeting other men. More than half reported frequent use.
In 2019, MSM accounted for 69% of the 36,801 new HIV diagnoses in the United States (according to the CDC report) and given CDC data that shows annual cases of STDs in the United States continued to climb in 2019, reaching an all-time high for the sixth consecutive year, it makes sense that gay-related dating aps and Websites would be a logical place to reach out to MSM with important prevention and testing information. In fact, the previously mentioned study’s authors concluded the ability to target MSM through social media “ensures that the right prevention message can be received by the intended audience…and could be an effective strategy for sexual health prevention research, interventions, and communication efforts.”
That’s our mission in a nutshell.
As part of the HIV Prevention and Care Project, and with the experienced input of the Pitt Men’s Study medical staff (both housed within the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health), M4Mhealthysex.org strives to get important health information to the people who need it, via the social media venues they frequent the most. Our sexual health educators reach out on Grindr, Scruff, Jack’d, and Adam4Adam, in areas around the state that are particularly hard hit by HIV and other STDs. In 2016, we referred more than 600 MSM in Pennsylvania to free HIV/STD testing, sent a variety of Health Alerts (short bulletins alerting MSM to critical health issues) to more than 8,000 recipients, and added to our archive of 450-plus informative posts concerning HIV and other STDs, PrEP, sexual health and the general well-being of men who have sex with men.
Being informed about sexual health can protect you from serious sexually transmitted infections. It can also keep our community healthy and strong. So if you see us online, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can also browse through our helpful links related to STD/HIV testing, PrEP and general health.
For more information about M4MHealthysex.org, the HIV Prevention and Care Project, and/or sexual health in general, contact us at m4mInformation@pitt.edu. We’re here to help.