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Finding sexual partners online: prevalence and associations with sexual behaviour, STI diagnoses and other sexual health outcomes in the British population

Cabecinha, M; Mercer, CH; Gravningen, K; Aicken, C; Jones, KG; Tanton, C; Wellings, K; ... Field, N; + view all (2017) Finding sexual partners online: prevalence and associations with sexual behaviour, STI diagnoses and other sexual health outcomes in the British population. Sexually Transmitted Infections 10.1136/sextrans-2016-052994. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Online venues might facilitate sexual encounters, but the extent to which finding partners online is associated with sexual risk behaviour and sexual health outcomes is unclear. We describe use of the internet to find sexual partners in a representative sample in Britain. METHODS: The third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) was a cross-sectional probability survey of 15 162 adults (aged 16-74 years) undertaken 2010-2012. We estimated prevalence of, and identified factors associated with, finding sexual partners online among those reporting ≥1 new sexual partners in the past year. RESULTS: Finding sexual partners online in the past year was reported by 17.6% (95% CI 15.6 to 19.9) of men and 10.1% (8.5-11.9) of women, and most common among those aged 35-44 years. After age-adjustment, those reporting a non-heterosexual identity were more likely to report this. Finding partners online was also associated with reporting sexual risk behaviours: condomless sex with ≥2 partners (adjusted OR (aOR) men: 1.52 (1.03 to 2.23); women: 1.62 (1.06 to 2.49)), concurrent partnerships (aOR men: 2.33 (1.62 to 3.35); women: 2.41 (1.49 to 3.87)) and higher partner numbers (reporting ≥5 partners aOR men: 5.95 (3.78 to 9.36); women: 7.00 (3.77 to 13.00)) (all past year). STI diagnoses and HIV testing were more common among men reporting finding partners online (adjusted for age, partner numbers, same-sex partnerships), but not women. CONCLUSIONS: Finding partners online was associated with markers of sexual risk, which might be important for clinical risk assessment, but this was not matched by uptake of sexual health services. Online opportunities to find partners have increased, so these data might underestimate the importance of this social phenomenon for public health and STI control.

Type: Article
Title: Finding sexual partners online: prevalence and associations with sexual behaviour, STI diagnoses and other sexual health outcomes in the British population
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/sextrans-2016-052994
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2016-052994
Language: English
Additional information: Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/ This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1552805
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