Men who have sex with men (MSM) in public sex environments (PSEs): a systematic review of quantitative literature

J. Frankis, P. Flowers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


We systematically review quantitative research relating to the sexual behaviours of MSM in PSEs. We examine the methodological rigour of these studies to determine an appropriate framework for future PSE-based research and quantify sexual behavioural trends therein. Medline, BIDS, Web of Science and recent HIV/AIDS conferences were searched according to a systematic inclusion criteria. Nine papers were included for review. Recruitment of participants' outwith PSE settings, and low response rates (6%) of participants contacted in situ, question the validity and generalizability of current evidence. Most PSE users were gay or bisexually identified and half of men in the gay community reported recent PSE use. Around 10% of men reported casual status-unknown/ serodiscordant unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) within PSEs. HIV testing rates amongst PSE users were similar to the wider gay community, though the proportion of men who tested positive was twice as high. Rates of casual UAI suggest that PSEs represent important sites for HIV prevention. However, since extant evidence is scant and methodologically flawed, further research is urgent. Such work must recruit participants in situ, and obtain satisfactory response rates, to be generalizable to the wider population of men who cruise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-288
Number of pages16
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005


  • sexual behaviour
  • HIV testing rates
  • men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • public sex environments


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