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medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.04.29.22274486


Objectives: To investigate how differential access to key interventions to reduce sexually transmitted infections (STI), HIV, and their sequelae changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: British participants (18-59y) completed a cross-sectional web survey one year (March to April 2021) after the initial lockdown in Britain. Quota-based sampling and weighting resulted in a quasi-representative population sample. We compared Natsal-COVID data with Natsal-3, a household-based probability sample cross-sectional survey (16-74y) conducted in 2010-12. Reported unmet need for condoms because of the pandemic and uptake of chlamydia testing/HIV testing/cervical cancer screening were analysed among sexually-experienced participants (18-44y) (n=2869, Natsal-COVID; n=8551, Natsal-3). Odds ratios adjusted for age (aOR) and other potential confounders (AOR) describe associations with demographic and behavioural factors. Results: In 2021, 6.9% of women and 16.2% of men reported unmet need for condoms because of the pandemic. This was more likely among participants: aged 18-24 years, of Black or Black British ethnicity, and reporting same-sex sex (past five years) or one or more new relationships (past year). Chlamydia and HIV testing were more commonly reported by younger participants, those reporting condomless sex with new sexual partners, and men reporting same-sex partners; a very similar distribution to 10 years previously (Natsal-3). However, there were differences during the pandemic, including stronger associations with chlamydia testing for men reporting same-sex partners; with HIV testing for women reporting new sexual partners; and with cervical screening among smokers. Conclusions: Our study suggests differential access to key primary and secondary STI/HIV prevention interventions continued during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the available evidence does not suggest substantial changes in inequalities in since 2010-12. While the pandemic might not have exacerbated inequalities in access to primary and secondary prevention, it is clear that large inequalities persisted, typically among those at greatest STI/HIV risk.

medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.06.24.21259107


Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) lineage B.1.1.7 has been associated with an increased rate of transmission and disease severity among subjects testing positive in the community. Its impact on hospitalised patients is less well documented. Methods We collected viral sequences and clinical data of patients admitted with SARS-CoV-2 and hospital-onset COVID-19 infections (HOCIs), sampled 16/11/2020 - 10/01/2021, from eight hospitals participating in the COG-UK-HOCI study. Associations between the variant and the outcomes of all-cause mortality and intensive therapy unit (ITU) admission were evaluated using mixed effects Cox models adjusted by age, sex, comorbidities, care home residence, pregnancy and ethnicity. Results Sequences were obtained from 2341 inpatients (HOCI cases = 786) and analysis of clinical outcomes was carried out in 2147 inpatients with all data available. The hazard ratio (HR) for mortality of B.1.1.7 compared to other lineages was 1.01 (95% CI 0.79-1.28, P=0.94) and for ITU admission was 1.01 (95% CI 0.75-1.37, P=0.96). Analysis of sex-specific effects of B.1.1.7 identified increased risk of mortality (HR 1.30, 95% CI 0.95-1.78) and ITU admission (HR 1.82, 95% CI 1.15-2.90) in females infected with the variant but not males (mortality HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.61-1.10; ITU HR 0.74, 95% CI 0.52-1.04). Conclusions In common with smaller studies of patients hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2 we did not find an overall increase in mortality or ITU admission associated with B.1.1.7 compared to other lineages. However, women with B.1.1.7 may be at an increased risk of admission to intensive care and at modestly increased risk of mortality.