Prevalence and correlates of lifetime and recent HIV testing among men who have sex with men (MSM) who use mobile geo-social networking applications in Greater Tokyo. Academic Article uri icon


  • Men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately burdened by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), accounting for 78% of all Japanese male HIV cases in 2016. Over 30% of newly identified HIV infections in Japan are diagnosed as AIDS annually, suggesting a large proportion of people living with HIV were unaware of their own infection status. An estimated two-thirds of Japanese men who have sex with men (MSM) are not attached to the gay community, and previous studies have largely sampled gay venues, thus, previous studies have likely failed to reach many men in this population. This study therefore examined HIV testing prevalence and correlates among MSM in Greater Tokyo who use gay mobile geo-social networking applications (gay mobile apps), which have been found to increase access to MSM not traditionally accessible through venue-based surveys. Among a sample of 1657 MSM recruited through advertisements on gay mobile apps, the prevalence of lifetime and six-monthly HIV testing was 72.8% and 29.7% respectively. In multiple regression analysis, higher lifetime HIV testing was associated with older age, education, HIV knowledge, anal intercourse with regular and casual male partners, and gay venue attendance. Testing was negatively associated with regular male partner condom use, marriage, residing outside central Tokyo and having both male and female partners. These results indicated that MSM who use gay mobile apps in Greater Tokyo do not meet the CDC yearly testing recommendations for high risk populations. Considering limited HIV prevention funding in Japan for MSM, moderate lifetime and recent testing, and the large number of gay mobile app users, utilization of popular gay mobile apps to promote nearby HIV testing facilities may be an effective prevention policy to target non-community attached MSM, particularly at-risk youth and individuals at risk of sudden-onset AIDS.

publication date

  • 2019