Predictors of Retention in an Online Follow-up Study of Men Who Have Sex With Men
ABSTRACT In the past 10 years, the Internet has emerged as a venue for men who have sex with men (MSM) to meet sex partners. Because online sex seeking has increased among MSM, Internet-based human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention interventions are of interest. However, few online studies to date have demonstrated an ability to retain study participants, specifically MSM of color, in longitudinal online studies.
The current analysis examines data from a 3-month online prospective study of MSM to determine the association of race and incentive level with two retention outcomes: (1) agreeing to participate in a follow-up survey and providing an email address and (2) linking into the follow-up survey at the follow-up time point.
Internet-using MSM were recruited through banner advertisements on MySpace.com. White, black, and Hispanic participants from 18 to 35 years of age were randomized to an offer of enrollment in an online follow-up survey at four levels of incentive (US $0, US $5, US $10, and US $20). Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate the odds of the two outcome measures of interest controlling for additional independent factors of interest.
Of eligible participants, 92% (2405/2607) agreed to participate in the follow-up survey and provided an email address. Hispanic men had decreased odds (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.47-0.92) of agreeing to participate in the follow-up survey compared with white men. Men reporting unprotected anal intercourse with a male sex partner in the past 12 months had increased odds of agreeing to participate in the follow-up survey (adjusted OR = 1.42, 95% CI 1.05-1.93). Of the participants who provided an email address, 22% (539/2405) linked into the follow-up survey at the 3-month follow-up time point. The odds of linking into the follow-up survey for black men were approximately half the odds for white men (adjusted OR = 0.47, 95% CI 0.35-0.63). Participants who were offered an incentive had increased odds of linking into the follow-up survey (adjusted OR = 1.29, 95% CI 1.02-1.62). Email addresses provided by participants that were used for online financial management and email accounts that were checked daily were associated with increased odds of linking into the follow-up survey (adjusted OR = 1.97, 95% CI 1.54-2.52; adjusted OR = 1.51, 95% CI 1.22-1.87, respectively).
This analysis identified factors that predicted retention in an online, prospective study of MSM. Hispanic and black study participants were less likely to be retained in the study compared with white study participants. Because these men bear the greatest burden of HIV incidence among MSM in the United States, it is critical that new research methods be developed to increase retention of these groups in online research studies.
- SourceAvailable from: John L Christensen
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- "Although on-line studies are still rare, some researchers have assessed the retention of MSM in RCTs and have found it can be surprisingly low over three months. Across four other studies, the rates were 15% , 25% , 53%  and 95% . Thus, the current study had one of the highest retention rates for online studies over three months with MSM to date. "
ABSTRACT: IntroductionMen who have sex with men (MSM) often face socially sanctioned disapproval of sexual deviance from the heterosexual “normal.” Such sexual stigma can be internalized producing a painful affective state (i.e., shame). Although shame (e.g., addiction) can predict risk-taking (e.g., alcohol abuse), sexual shame's link to sexual risk-taking is unclear. Socially Optimized Learning in Virtual Environments (SOLVE) was designed to reduce MSM's sexual shame, but whether it does so, and if that reduction predicts HIV risk reduction, is unclear. To test if at baseline, MSM's reported past unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) is related to shame; MSM's exposure to SOLVE compared to a wait-list control (WLC) condition reduces MSM's shame; and shame-reduction mediates the link between WLC condition and UAI risk reduction.MethodsHIV-negative, self-identified African American, Latino or White MSM, aged 18–24 years, who had had UAI with a non-primary/casual partner in the past three months were recruited for a national online study. Eligible MSM were computer randomized to either WLC or a web-delivered SOLVE. Retained MSM completed baseline measures (e.g., UAI in the past three months; current level of shame) and, in the SOLVE group, viewed at least one level of the game. At the end of the first session, shame was measured again. MSM completed follow-up UAI measures three months later. All data from 921 retained MSM (WLC condition, 484; SOLVE condition, 437) were analyzed, with missing data multiply imputed.ResultsAt baseline, MSM reporting more risky sexual behaviour reported more shame (r s=0.21; p<0.001). MSM in the SOLVE intervention reported more shame reduction (M=−0.08) than MSM in the control condition (M=0.07; t(919)=4.24; p<0.001). As predicted, the indirect effect was significant (point estimate −0.10, 95% bias-corrected CI [−0.01 to −0.23] such that participants in the SOLVE treatment condition reported greater reductions in shame, which in turn predicted reductions in risky sexual behaviour at follow-up. The direct effect, however, was not significant.ConclusionsSOLVE is the first intervention to: (1) significantly reduce shame for MSM; and (2) demonstrate that shame-reduction, due to an intervention, is predictive of risk (UAI) reduction over time.Journal of the International AIDS Society 11/2013; 16(Supplement 2). DOI:10.7448/IAS.16.3.18716 · 5.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In 2010, the iPrEx trial demonstrated that oral antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reduced the risk of HIV acquisition among high-risk men who have sex with men (MSM). The impact of iPrEx on PrEP knowledge and actual use among at-risk MSM is unknown. Online surveys were conducted to assess PrEP awareness, interest and experience among at-risk MSM before and after iPrEx, and to determine demographic and behavioral factors associated with these measures. Cross-sectional, national, internet-based surveys were administered to U.S. based members of the most popular American MSM social networking site 2 months before (n = 398) and 1 month after (n = 4 558) publication of iPrEx results. Comparisons were made between these samples with regards to PrEP knowledge, interest, and experience. Data were collected on demographics, sexual risk, and experience with post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Regression analyses were performed to identify factors associated with PrEP awareness, interest, and experience post-iPrEx. Most participants were white, educated, and indicated high-risk sexual behaviors. Awareness of PrEP was limited pre- and post-iPrEx (13% vs. 19%), whereas interest levels after being provided with a description of PrEP remained high (76% vs. 79%). PrEP use remained uncommon (0.7% vs. 0.9%). PrEP use was associated with PEP awareness (OR 7.46; CI 1.52-36.6) and PEP experience (OR 34.2; CI 13.3-88.4). PrEP interest was associated with older age (OR 1.01; CI 1.00-1.02), unprotected anal intercourse with ≥1 male partner in the prior 3 months (OR 1.40; CI 1.10-1.77), and perceiving oneself at increased risk for HIV acquisition (OR 1.20; CI 1.13-1.27). Among MSM engaged in online networking, awareness of PrEP was limited 1 month after the iPrEx data were released. Utilization was low, although some MSM who reported high-risk behaviors were interested in using PrEP. Studies are needed to understand barriers to PrEP utilization by at-risk MSM.PLoS ONE 03/2012; 7(3):e33119. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0033119 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mobile phone social networking applications such as GRINDR are potential tools for recruitment of men who have sex with men (MSM) for HIV prevention research. Demographics and sexual risk behaviors of men recruited through GRINDR and through traditional media were compared. GRINDR participants were younger (mean age 31 vs. 42, p < 0.0001), more White identified (44 vs. 30 %, p < 0.01), and had more sex partners in the previous 14 days (1.88 vs. 1.10, p < 0.05) than other recruits. Email responses were less successful for enrollment than phone calls (5 vs. 50 %). This approach resulted in successful recruitment of younger and more educated, White identified MSM.AIDS and Behavior 08/2012; 16(7):1816-20. DOI:10.1007/s10461-012-0277-z · 3.49 Impact Factor