A new study from Community Healthcare Network (a New York City-based nonprofit that provides medical services and outreach and education programs to 75,000 individuals a year) was released this week that reports on the attitudes and knowledge about HIV/AIDS of men who have sex with men (MSM) and who meet their partners through the use of social networking apps (ie: Grindr, Scruff, Manhunt, and Growlr).

According to the study (titled: “Zero Feet Away: Perspective on HIV/AIDS and Unprotected Sex in Men Who Have Sex with Men Utilizing Location-based Mobile Apps,” nearly half of surveyed gay and bisexual men are knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS, and are afraid of getting infected or re-infected with the virus, yet regardless they admit to participating in risk-taking activities like unprotected anal intercourse.

In total, 725 people who use the aforementioned apps were surveyed and they found that there was a clear disconnect between why men still engage in unprotected sex and the way prevention attempts try to address changing this behavior. Read the bulleted list of their findings below.

Survey Findings Summmary:

  • Respondents were sufficiently knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS. 80.9 percent of respondents knew that HIV is transmitted through “unprotected anal sex, vaginal sex, and – less frequently – oral sex.”
  • A majority of respondents (68.1 percent) were afraid to be infected or re-infected, believe people should be more concerned about the epidemic, and view it overall as a serious issue.
  • A majority felt that AIDS is a “somewhat serious” problem for people they know (52.5 percent), while 29.4
    percent considered it to be a serious problem.
  • The vast majority of respondents considered barebacking (defined as unprotected anal sex) dangerous and
    believed barebackers are informed of the risk.
  • Yet, almost half of respondents (46.4 percent) admitted to barebacking always, often, or sometimes versus 53.6 percent who reportedly never engage in unprotected anal intercourse.

Respondents suggested several reasons for practicing unprotected sex, including:

  • “With condoms it does not feel the same” (84.6 percent);
  • “Impulsive sexual behaviors” (73.8 percent).

Share your thoughts on the matter below and if you’d like to read the official press release on the study, you can find it here.