thoughts of e.shor

CBPR stands for community based participatory research. CBPR is my personal heaven because it means that I get to sit around a table in community and have good, hard discussion that drive research about public health in community.

Today, from keynote speaker Dr. Joshua Rosenberger, i learned to reconceptualize CBPR in a couple of different ways. I was excited to stretch my brain this way. Dr. R consults and does public health research with a series of companies in the online dating-sex-seeking world for men who have sex with men (MSM). I’m sure you have heard of Manhunt, Grindr, Adam 4 Adam…etc. The “C” in CBPR in his research applies to both community (online community) and corporation, which puts a whole new set of expectations on the development these relationships. I was impressed with the research teams ability to utilize the CBPR model to engage this important trend in MSM sexual health. Getting in touch with the people who are using the internet for sex and dating is super hard, because the internet allows for quick interactions and a lot of anonymity.

Since my arrival at this conference I had been a bit wary of the fact that Grindr and Manhunt were listed in the program as sponsors of the LGBTI Health Summit. It just did not sit right with me. I realize that finding sex online is a reality, and I have no issue with casual consensual sexual activity. However, I do think that apps like Grindr and Manhunt create a culture of miscommunication or no-communication about sexual health between partners, because you literally do not have to talk to make the hook up happen. This is visible in the rise of HIV and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) among MSM…in Minnesota we have seen a rise in HIV, syphilis, and chlamydia (MN Dept of Health 2010 Report). Now, I have not done any studies or statistical analysis myself to prove that there is a correlation between easier access to sex through apps and rising HIV/STI rates, but I feel like it is a pretty intuitive connection.

Again, I do not at all think getting it on is bad, and I am so happy that so many queerz are finding each other to copulate, but I am also super glad that people like Dr. R are conducting public health research on the implications of sites like Manhunt and Grindr so that public health professionals, direct services providers and communities can get their acts in order to provide culturally competent sexual health interventions.

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