“Blocking” and “Filtering”: a Commentary on Mobile Technology, Racism, and the Sexual Networks of Young Black MSM (YBMSM)

Terrell J.A. Winder, Charles H. Lea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-236
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2019


  • HIV
  • Mobile technology
  • Racism
  • Sexual networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of '“Blocking” and “Filtering”: a Commentary on Mobile Technology, Racism, and the Sexual Networks of Young Black MSM (YBMSM)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this