For their part, website owners cannot be expected to assess the evidence for or against specific prevention interventions, to design health promotion programs, or to prioritize user health benefits in their business models.
In brief, we perceive no clear consensus about which HIV/STD prevention strategies may be most effective, most acceptable to website owners, and most likely to be used by websiteclients.
Additionally, in some areas of the country, particularly rural areas with few organizations or bars catering to MSM, the internet may be one of the few ways MSM can meet.
In large cities with established gay neighborhoods, organizations, bars, and clubs, the internet may provide an additional venue for partners to meet each other.
Recruitment, eligibility criteria, and survey measures differed between the three stakeholder groups who served as study subjects.
We developed a comprehensive list of gay-oriented dating and hook-up websites through consultation with experts, key informants, and a review of the literature, and based our sampling frame of website owner stakeholders on this list.
HIV/STD directors are not likely to focus on the business of running a dating or hook-up website, to fully appreciate the technology used to run the sites, or to consider the costs, capabilities, or limitations of the website when implementing programs.Furthermore, many dating and hook-up websites already enable men to search for partners with characteristics they desire and to disclose sensitive information such as HIV status more comfortably than they may be able to do in other situations (9).On many websites, men can exchange information about HIV and STD status, drug and alcohol use, and their preferences for sex with or without condoms.From November 2009 to May 2010 we surveyed dating and hook-up website users (n=3,050), website owners (n=18), and health department HIV/STD directors (n=81) to identify structural and behavioral prevention interventions that could be implemented online and which a majority of website users were willing to use, owners were willing to implement, and HIV/STD directors perceived to beeffective.A majority of each of the three stakeholder groups agreed on the following: 1) automated HIV/STD testing reminders; 2) local STD test site directories; 3) links to sex-positive safe sex videos; 4) access to sexual health experts; 5) profile options to include safer sex preference; 6) chat rooms for specific sexual interests; 7) filtering partners by their profile information; and 8) anonymous e-card partner notification for STD exposure.