HIV Med 2019 Aug 22;20(7):473-484. Epub 2019 Apr 22.
Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China.
Objectives: Internet-based venue sex-seeking is prevalent among money boys (MBs), as is a high degree of mobility, which is crucial for HIV transmission in key populations with high risks of HIV infection. However, correlation studies in MBs are scarce because of the secretive nature of this hard-to-reach subpopulation. We conducted this project to explore the characteristics of MBs.
Methods: This survey was conducted from December 2014 to June 2015 in Tianjin; a total of 330 MBs were recruited by convenience sampling. Demographic and behavioural data were collected for analysis.
Results: Among the investigated MBs, 38 (11.52%) were HIV positive, 147 (44.55%) reported using internet-based venues to seek sexual partners and 257 (77.88%) had travelled to two or more destinations in the past 6 months. Compared with non-internet-based venue-using MBs, internet-based venue-using MBs were more likely to have part-time employment as MBs, to have a longer duration of working in the sex trade, to engage in finger intercourse and to present a history of substance abuse and sexually transmitted infections. However, internet-based venue-using MBs were less likely to exhibit consistent condom usage and undergo HIV testing. Origin of residence data showed that most MBs were from northern China, with Tianjin, Beijing and Shanghai as the main travel destinations. Mobile MBs were characterized as a group who were fully engaged in the sex trade and frequently took part in sexual activities but had a weak sense of self-protection.
Conclusions: Internet-based venue sex-seeking and mobility are prevalent in MBs. Renewed efforts in internet-based health promotion and school-based primary health examination programmes may benefit more mobile and/or internet-based venue sex-seeking MBs.
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