While research investigates the role and influence of geo-social networking (GSN) applications on HIV, less is known about the impact of GSN functions on disease transmission. In our formative research on young Black men who have sex with men’s (YBMSM) technology use patterns and preferences for a smartphone-based HIV prevention intervention, we found that study participants used GSN “block” and “filter” functions as protective mechanisms against racism and racial sexual discrimination. Yet, we suggest that these functions may unintentionally create restrictive sexual networks that likely increase their risk for disease transmission. As such, we contend that attention to the unintended effects of these protective mechanisms against racism on GSN applications is fundamentally a public health issue that requires more research and explicit intervention. Ultimately, we use this work to hypothesize the role of blocking and filtering as a strategy to avoid racism on GSN applications that may partly explain HIV disparities among YBMSM.
- Mobile technology
- Sexual networks
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health