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Utilization of dating apps by men who have sex with men for persuading other men toward substance use

Authors Boonchutima S, Kongchan W

Received 4 September 2016

Accepted for publication 10 November 2016

Published 12 January 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 31—38

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S121480

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Smith Boonchutima, Watsayut Kongchan

Department of Public Relations, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Background:
Dating apps play a major role in connecting men who are interested in meeting other men for sex. Besides finding a partner, these tools are also exploited for other activities such as encouraging people to get involved in the habit of illicit drug consumption (substance use).
Methods:
This study evaluated the overall usage of dating apps among Thai men who have sex with men (MSMs), with an emphasis on abusing these apps to convey messages encouraging substance use. A well-structured Survey Monkey questionnaire posted on specialized websites and social sites used by MSMs was used to collect the data. Data were analyzed using regression and correlation analysis in order to establish the relationship between variables.
Results: A substantial proportion (73%) of the Thai MSM community is using dating apps to find their partners as well as for inviting others into illicit drug practice. Unfortunately, persuasion through dating significantly influenced people toward accepting a substance use invitation, with a 77% invitation success rate. Substance use was also linked with unprotected sex, potentially enhancing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections.
Conclusion:
Dating apps significantly increased motivational substance use through messaging from their counterparts. One of the major concerns revealed in this study is that Thai MSMs who reported being involved in substance use also reported avoiding use of condoms during intercourse.

Keywords:
homosexual, mobile apps, social media, substance, Thailand

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