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Considering the difficulties to obtain representative data by other sampling methods for "hidden" populations like MSM, internet-based surveys may provide an easy and low cost tool to estimate the regional population distribution – at least in Western post-industrialized countries.
Some uncertainties remain about the exact place of residence of MSM in larger cities or catchment areas of these cities.
Slight discrepancies between surveys and user profiles could be observed.
Proportional regional distribution of survey participants with HIV diagnosis resembled national surveillance data.
In addition, we compared the regional distribution of reportedly HIV positive survey participants with the regional distribution of HIV notifications within the national surveillance system that can be attributed to transmission through homosexual contacts.
Regional distribution of survey participants was almost identical in both surveys, despite little overlap between survey participants.
Fortunately, it seems that in Western post-industrialized countries, asking people about their sexual preferences is becoming more and more acceptable .