Our main determinant of interest, dating location (e.g., the name of a bar, park, club, or the name of a website) was obtained for every partner, and categorised into online (websites), and offline (physical sites) dating locations.
To simplify the terminology of distinguishing the partners per dating location, we refer to them as online or offline partners.
Men were eligible for participation if they reported sexual contact with men during the six months preceding the STI consultation, they were at least 18 years old, and could understand written Dutch or English.
Individuals could participate more than once, if subsequent visits to the clinic were related to a possible new STI episode.
HIV status of the participant was obtained by asking the question ‘Do you know whether you are HIV infected?
’, with five answer options: (1) I am certainly not HIV-infected; (2) I think that I am not HIV-infected; (3) I do not know; (4) I think I may be HIV-infected; (5) I know for sure that I am HIV-infected.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) frequently use the Internet to find sex partners.
In this study the HIV status of the participant is self-reported and self-perceived.Online dating was not significantly associated with UAI among HIV-negative MSM.HIV-positive MSM were more likely to practise UAI with partners dated online; however, after correction for partner and partnership characteristics, online partnership acquisition was not associated with a significantly increased risk of UAI.Participants were routinely screened for STI/HIV according to the standard procedures of the STI outpatient clinic .The study was approved by the medical ethics committee of the Academic Medical Center of Amsterdam (MEC 07/181), and written informed consent was obtained from each participant.