New Mobile Intervention Application May Reduce HIV Risk Among Same-Sex Attracted Young Males

Research suggests that interventions to reduce HIV risk could help adolescent men who are same-sex attracted – and who are part of an ethnic and racial minority – to reduce HIV-risk sexual behaviors in the short-term.

The MyPEEPS mobile app reduced the short-term risk of HIV infection in young, racially and ethnically diverse men who have sex with men (MSM). It was found that the MyPEEPS intervention reduced bareback sex by 44% at 3 months in a population where 52% of participants had anal sex and 78% had bareback sex.

The primary outcome was a change in the number of times they had sex without a condom. Researchers identified secondary outcomes as changes in the number of sexual partners, condomless anal sex partners, sexual activity under the influence of substances, prophylactic intake prior to exposure, non-occupational use of post-exposure prophylaxis, and testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The MSM population accounts for nearly 70% of annual HIV infections, but within this community, racial and ethnic minorities have higher rates of HIV infection. Young MSM in these different communities have even higher rates. For example, black MSM aged 13 to 24 accounted for 27% of new HIV cases in the United States.

MyPEEPs was a group-based HIV prevention curriculum to teach prevention to young, diverse MSM aged 16-20. From this, the researchers developed a mobile app, MyPEEPS Mobile, which targets an even younger (aged 13 to 18) and more diverse demographic (Native American, Alaska Native, etc.). The team decided to evaluate the effectiveness of MyPEEPs Mobile – specifically whether it reduced condomless anal sex acts in young MSM who were attracted to same-sex attraction.

READ :  Somerset mobile food bank launches capital campaign

Researchers enrolled 763 young, racially and ethnically diverse, same-sex-dressed adolescent males in a randomized clinical trial (RCT). They were assigned to conduct an assessment every 3 months for 9 months and were divided into 2 groups – 382 patients were in the intervention group and had access to MYPEEPS Mobile for the first 3 months – 381 were in the delayed intervention group in which they received access to MyPEEPS Mobile at the 9-month visit.

“Participants randomized to the MyPEEPS Mobile intervention arm had a significant reduction in condomless anal sex acts compared to the delayed intervention arm at 3 months,” the researchers wrote in the report. However, there was no significant difference between the two groups between baseline and 6 months or 9 months.

The researchers also found that black or African-American participants in the intervention group showed the most significant effects after using the app — the results showed they had an 85 percent decrease in condomless anal sex acts after 6 months.

The results cannot be generalized to people without smart devices or social media platforms. The study was limited because the results were self-reported and may have intrinsic selective and social biases, according to the authors. Finally, the study did not address the incidence of HIV, nor the behavior of the participants after attending the course.

“Our results provide evidence that MyPEEPS Mobile is a feasible, acceptable, and effective intervention that reduces HIV risk behaviors in MSM aged 13 to 18 years,” the study authors said in the report.


Schall, Rebecca, Kuhns, Lisa, Pearson, Cynthia, et al. Efficacy of MyPEEPS Mobile, an HIV prevention intervention using mobile technology, in reducing sexual risk in same-sex attracted adolescent males. 21 September 2022. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(9):e2231853. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.31853

READ :  Dan Walker says his children must sign contracts before getting mobile phones