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Does the Internet Represent a Sexual Health Risk Environment for Young People?

Buhi, Eric R. MPH, PhD*; Cook, Robert L. MD, MPH; Marhefka, Stephanie L. PhD*; Blunt, Heather D. MPH*; Wheldon, Christopher MSPH*; Oberne, Alison B. MA, MPH*; Mullins, Jocelyn C. DVM, MPH; Dagne, Getachew A. PhD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: January 2012 - Volume 39 - Issue 1 - p 55-58
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e318235b3c6
Note

This study examined sexual risk behaviors/outcomes among college students with online partners only, offline partners only, and both online/offline partners. Students with both online/offline partners were more likely to report sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, and more vaginal/oral sex partners. Sex with online partners was not riskier than sex with offline partners.

Research involving a random sample of college students found that meeting sex partners both online/offline resulted in a worse sexual risk profile than meeting partners online only or offline only.

From the *Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; †Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; and ‡Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Supported by the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality Grants-in-Aid program and a Florida Center for AIDS Research Developmental Core Seed Award.

Correspondence: Eric R. Buhi, MPH, PhD, Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, 13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC 56, Tampa, FL 33612. E-mail: ebuhi@health.usf.edu.

Received for publication May 12, 2011, and accepted September 1, 2011.

© Copyright 2012 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association