The Internet presents unique and growing opportunities for conducting HIV/ STD research. This article reports on the first 171 participants enrolled in an ongoing study examining use of the Internet to recruit Hispanic men who have sex with men (HMSM) living in an AIDS epicenter to participate in community-based studies. First, it describes initial success with chatroom recruitment. Second, it compares the demographic, psychosocial, and sexual risk practices among HMSM recruited through the Internet who had used club drugs in the last 6 months and those who had not. In 2 months, 211 hours were spent recruiting in chatrooms; 735 chatroom users were engaged. Researchers used a scripted dialogue to describe the study and to invite chatroom users to visit the study's community sites for screening and enrollment. One hundred and seventy-six men came to the community sites; 172 (98%) were eligible and completed an audio-computer assisted self-interview. In the last 6 months, 48.5% of the sample had used club drugs [defined as cocaine, crystal methamphetamines (crystal), amyl nitrites (poppers), Ecstasy, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), ketamine (Special K), and Viagra]. The proportion of men reporting use of each drug was: cocaine (15.8%), crystal (11.7%), poppers (31.6%), Ecstasy (14%), GHB (3.5%), Special K (3.5%), and Viagra (19.3%). In multivariate analyses, having higher number of sex partners, having higher social isolation scores, and having engaged in unprotected receptive anal intercourse were significantly associated with club-drug use. These initial findings suggest that high-risk HMSM can be successfully recruited through chatroom dialogues to participate in community-based HIV studies. The alarmingly high rates of club-drug use and risky sexual practices among HMSM underscore the need for effective HIV preventive interventions for this population.
- Club drugs
- Hispanic MSM
- Sexual risk behavior
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health