Today, many gay men looking for potential sex partners through social apps appear to interact with other men who say they are taking Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), or with those who say they are HIV-positive and have an undetectable viral load, aidsmap reports. A new phenomenon is also emerging in which gay men weigh the PrEP-taking or viral load status of a sex partner when deciding whether to engage in condomless intercourse with them.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, researchers recruited gay men through advertising on a major mobile phone dating app between November 2014 and February 2015. They ultimately surveyed 668 men about the PrEP-taking of potential sex partners with whom they interacted through apps, and surveyed 727 men about other male app users who stated that they had a fully suppressed viral load.

Fourteen percent of all the participants were HIV positive.

Forty-three percent of the HIV-negative men and 62 percent of the HIV-positive men said someone on an social app had said he was on PrEP. Sixty-eight percent of HIV-negative men and 90 percent of HIV-positive men said at least one man on a social app had said he had an undetectable viral load. Most of the men who encountered these two categories of potential sex partners said that at least one of the other men had requested sex without a condom, and that at least one of the men on PrEP or who said he had an undetectable viral load would only have sex without a condom.

The researchers coined the term “biomed-matching” to describe the emerging phenomenon when two men on PrEP, or one man on PrEP and another with an undetectable viral load, pair off to have condomless sex. Others have described such calculated sexual risk-taking as  “pharmasorting.”

To read the aidsmap article, click here.

To read the journal abstract, click here.