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1.
Arch Sex Behav ; 51(4): 2261-2268, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1877862

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the well-being of people worldwide; however, there has been limited research examining ways in which the pandemic has created changes in relationship quality among young sexual minority men. We analyzed data from a sample of 150 young sexual minority men, aged 15-24 years. In total, 25% reported their relationship quality decreased during the pandemic, 47% reported no change, and 28% reported increased relationship quality due to COVID-19. In multinomial models, intimate partner violence, lower commitment, and spending less time with a partner due to COVID-19 were associated with decreased relationship quality during the pandemic compared to those who reported no change or increased relationship quality due to the pandemic. More efforts are needed to understand and address the impact of COVID-19 on the romantic relationships of young sexual minority men.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Intimate Partner Violence , Sexual and Gender Minorities , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Sexual Behavior
2.
Arch Sex Behav ; 51(1): 303-314, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1838357

ABSTRACT

Prior research has highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV prevention services within the U.S., but few studies have explored this impact through an exploratory, qualitative lens. In this study, we sought to highlight the voices of young sexual minority men (YSMM) 17-24 years old and explored the perceived impact of the pandemic on HIV prevention among a diverse, nationwide sample of YSMM who participated in synchronous online focus group discussions between April and September 2020. Forty-one YSMM described the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV testing and prevention services, including limited and disrupted access to HIV testing, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and HIV post-exposure prophylaxis. COVID-19-related challenges were compounded by ongoing, pre-COVID-19 barriers experienced by YSMM in the U.S. For instance, many YSMM relocated back home with family, causing men to avoid HIV prevention services for fear of outing themselves to relatives. YSMM also worried about placing their family at increased risk of COVID-19 by attending clinical appointments. YSMM who did seek HIV prevention services, including access to PrEP, experienced significant barriers, including limited appointment availability and services not tailored to YSMM. Further efforts are needed to support YSMM re-engaging in HIV prevention during and after the COVID-19 era.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Adolescent , Adult , Focus Groups , HIV Infections/diagnosis , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/prevention & control , HIV Testing , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
3.
AIDS Behav ; 26(7): 2338-2348, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1638039

ABSTRACT

This paper presents data from the Love and Sex in the Time of COVID survey, an online survey with US gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. The first round of the Love and Sex in the Time of COVID-19 survey was conducted online from April to May, 2020: the second round was collected November 2020 to January 2021. GBMSM were recruited through advertisements featured on social networking platforms. Analysis examines changes in self-reported measures of sexual behavior (number of sex partners, number of anal sex partners and number of anal sex partners not protected by pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or condoms) between those with complete data for round one and round two of the surveys (n = 280). While in round one, men reported a moderate willingness to have sex during COVID-19 (3.5 on a scale from 1 to 5), this had reduced significantly to 2.1 by round two. Men reported declines in the number of unprotected anal sex partners since pre-COVID. Perceptions of a longer time until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with increases in the number of sex partners and UAI partners. The results illustrate some significant declines in sexual behavior among GBMSM as the COVID-19 pandemic progressed. As vaccine programs continue to roll out across the U.S, as lockdowns ease and as we return to some normalcy, it will be important to continue to think critically about ways to re-engage men in HIV prevention.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sexual Behavior , Sexual and Gender Minorities , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Surveys and Questionnaires , Unsafe Sex/statistics & numerical data
4.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0249740, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403293

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Central to measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV is understanding the role of loss of access to essential HIV prevention and care services created by clinic and community-based organization closures. In this paper, we use a comprehensive list of HIV prevention services in four corridors of the US heavily impacted by HIV, developed as part of a large RCT, to illustrate the potential impact of service closure on LGBTQ+ youth. METHODS: We identified and mapped LGBTQ+ friendly services offering at least one of the following HIV-related services: HIV testing; STI testing; PrEP/PEP; HIV treatment and care; and other HIV-related services in 109 counties across four major interstate corridors heavily affected by HIV US Census regions: Pacific (San Francisco, CA to San Diego, CA); South-Atlantic (Washington, DC to Atlanta, GA); East-North-Central (Chicago, IL to Detroit, MI); and East-South-Central (Memphis, TN to New Orleans, LA). RESULTS: There were a total of 831 LGBTQ+ youth-friendly HIV service providers across the 109 counties. There was a range of LGBTQ+ youth-friendly HIV-service provider availability across counties (range: 0-14.33 per 10,000 youth aged 13-24 (IQR: 2.13), median: 1.09); 9 (8.26%) analyzed counties did not have any LGBTQ+ youth-friendly HIV service providers. The Pearson correlation coefficient for the correlation between county HIV prevalence and LGBTQ+ youth-friendly HIV service provider density was 0.16 (p = 0.09), suggesting only a small, non-statistically significant linear relationship between a county's available LGBTQ+ youth-friendly HIV service providers and their HIV burden. CONCLUSIONS: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we must find novel, affordable ways to continue to provide sexual health, mental health and other support services to LGBTQ+ youth.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care/methods , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics , Sexual and Gender Minorities/education , Adolescent , Adult , Humans , Prevalence , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
5.
AIDS Behav ; 26(3): 631-638, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1356012

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to health care access for sexual and gender minorities in the U.S. We sought to explore the impact of COVID-19 on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use and sexual health services by assessing PrEP eligibility and use, changes in sexual behaviors, and HIV/STI testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We surveyed 239 young sexual minority men (YSMM) 17-24 years old between April and September 2020 in the U.S. One-in-seven YSMM PrEP users discontinued use during the pandemic, and all those who discontinued PrEP reported a decrease in sexual activity. Twenty percent reported difficulty getting prescriptions and medications from their doctors or pharmacies, and more than 10% reported challenges accessing HIV/STI testing. Among those who met Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for PrEP (n = 104), 86.5% were not currently using PrEP. Among those surveyed 3 months or later after the start of major COVID-19 stay-at-home measures (n = 165), 35.8% reported CAS with a causal partner within the past 3 months during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeking HIV testing was associated with reporting condomless anal sex in the previous 3 months, indicating the necessity for ensuring continuity of basic sexual health services for YSMM. Failure to adequately adjust HIV prevention services and intervention in the face of pandemic-related adversity undermines efforts to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S.


RESUMEN: La pandemia de COVID-19 ha causado interrupciones en el acceso a la atención médica para las minorías sexuales y de género en los EE. UU. Buscamos explorar el impacto de COVID-19 en el uso de la profilaxis de preexposición al VIH (PrEP) y los servicios de salud sexual mediante la evaluación de la elegibilidad y el uso de PrEP, los cambios en los comportamientos sexuales y las pruebas de VIH/ITS durante la pandemia de COVID-19. Encuestamos a 239 hombres jóvenes de minorías sexuales (YSMM) de 17 a 24 años entre abril y septiembre de 2020 en los EE. UU. Uno de cada siete usuarios de PrEP YSMM interrumpió su uso durante la pandemia, y todos los que interrumpieron la PrEP informaron una disminución en la actividad sexual. El veinte por ciento informó tener dificultades para obtener recetas y medicamentos de sus médicos o farmacias, y más del 10% informó tener dificultades para acceder a las pruebas de VIH/ITS. Entre los que cumplieron con los criterios de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades para la PrEP (n = 104), el 86,5% no estaba usando PrEP actualmente. Entre los encuestados 3 meses o más después del inicio de las principales medidas de COVID-19 para quedarse en casa (n = 165), el 35,8% informó CAS con una pareja causal en los últimos 3 meses durante la pandemia de COVID-19. La búsqueda de la prueba del VIH se asoció con la notificación de sexo anal sin condón en los 3 meses anteriores, lo que indica la necesidad de garantizar la continuidad de los servicios básicos de salud sexual para YSMM. No ajustar adecuadamente los servicios de prevención del VIH y la intervención frente a la adversidad relacionada con la pandemia socava los esfuerzos para poner fin a la epidemia del VIH en los EE. UU.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Sexually Transmitted Diseases , Adolescent , Adult , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Sexual Behavior , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/epidemiology , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/prevention & control , Young Adult
6.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(7)2021 Jul 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295956

ABSTRACT

This paper presents data from an online sample of U.S gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM), to explore the factors associated with three dimensions of vaccine beliefs: perception of the likelihood of a COVID-19 vaccine becoming available, perception of when a COVID-19 vaccine would become available, and the likelihood of taking a COVID-19 vaccine. Data are taken from the Love and Sex in the Time of COVID-19 study, collected from November 2020 to January 2021. A sample of 290 GBMSM is analyzed, modeling three binary outcomes: belief that there will be a COVID-19 vaccine, belief that the COVID-19 vaccine will be available in 6 months, and being very likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine. In contrast to other studies, Black/African Americans and GBMSM living with HIV had higher levels of pandemic optimism and were more likely to be willing to accept a vaccine. Men who perceived a higher prevalence of COVID-19 among their friends and sex partners, and those who had reduced their sex partners, were more likely to be willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine. There remained a small percentage of participants (14%) who did not think the pandemic would end, that there would not be a vaccine and were unlikely to take a vaccine. To reach the levels of vaccination necessary to control the pandemic, it is imperative to understand the characteristics of those experiencing vaccine hesitancy and then tailor public health messages to their unique set of barriers and motivations.

7.
Am J Mens Health ; 15(3): 15579883211022180, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1259149

ABSTRACT

Little is known about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and control measures on gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) couples. The goal of this study was to investigate individual-level relationship satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic in a sample of 209 coupled GBMSM in the United States. We analyzed reported happiness and feelings about a relationship's future and assessed the odds of changing relationship happiness and investment associated with pandemic-related life changes (pandemic-related employment change; COVID-19 illness; high-risk of severe illness), using logistic and multinomial logit models. Fifty-five percent of participants (N = 114) reported that their relationship happiness had not changed during the pandemic, but 30% (N = 62) reported increased relationship happiness. 25% (N = 53) reported they had become more invested in their relationship's future during the pandemic, and only one participant reported decreased investment. The odds of increased relationship investment was significantly associated with pandemic-related employment change (adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.19 [1.04, 4.61]) and increased sex during the pandemic (aOR: 4.38 [1.55, 12.41]). Those with a pandemic-related employment change also had significantly higher odds of increased relationship happiness than those without a change (aOR: 2.10 [1.01, 4.35]). COVID-19 cases that reported being at higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease had higher odds of decreased relationship happiness than high-risk non-cases (aOR: 6.58 [1.10, 39.39]). Additional research in this area is warranted to minimize the long-term impacts of the pandemic on coupled GBMSM.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Homosexuality, Male/psychology , Mental Health/statistics & numerical data , Personal Satisfaction , Physical Distancing , Sexual and Gender Minorities/psychology , Adult , Happiness , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Sexual Behavior/psychology , United States
8.
J Interpers Violence ; : 8862605211005135, 2021 Apr 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1192167

ABSTRACT

In addition to the growing morbidity and mortality related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (SAR-CoV-2) pandemic, social distancing measures during the pandemic may result in increased intimate partner violence (IPV). However, it is yet unknown if gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM)'s IPV risk has increased during this time. This article describes and analyzes IPV experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in a sample of coupled-GBMSM in the United States. We hypothesized that pandemic-driven stressors would be associated with increased IPV prevalence and severity. A sample of 214 coupled men living in the US who had previously participated in HIV-related couple studies was surveyed in July-September 2020. Respondents reported demographic, sexual and substance use behaviors, and relationship characteristics. Surveys also collected data on pandemic-related life-changes (employment, substance use, COVID-19 illness). IPV victimization and perpetration were measured with the Gay and Bisexual Men Intimate Partner Violence scale and measured individually experienced or perpetrated violence, sexual, emotional, monitoring, or controlling behaviors, and if a given behavior was new and/or had changed in frequency during the pandemic. Reported prevalence and pandemic-related changes in victimization and perpetration were described. New or more frequent IPV victimization was modeled against employment, substance use changes, COVID-19 illness, and outside sexual partners (modified by a couple's sexual agreement). IPV perpetration prevalence was 15.17%, 34.44% of which was new or more frequent. Victimization prevalence was 14.95%, of which 46.88% was new or more frequent. After adjustment, outside sexual partners were associated with IPV among those with nonmonogamous sexual agreements; each outside sexual partner increased the odds of new or more frequent victimization by 70% (OR = 1.70; 95% CI [1.16, 2.51]). Given this study's documented rise in IPV among a sample of coupled men, additional research into IPV predictors, interventions, and support strategies in GBMSM populations are warranted.

9.
AIDS Behav ; 25(11): 3798-3803, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1188122

ABSTRACT

Sexual agreements are an important element of HIV prevention for many partnered gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM). This study describes sexual agreement and sexual behavior changes during the 2020 pandemic among a sample of 215 coupled US GBMSM. Overall, reported behavior shifted towards monogamy. Fifteen percent of respondents developed/ended/changed their agreement during the pandemic; the pandemic factored into 85% of reported changes. Individuals reported fewer outside sexual partners compared to the 3 months pre-pandemic. More research is needed to investigate shifting behavior and associated risk in order to adapt HIV services during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sexual and Gender Minorities , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Sexual Behavior , Sexual Partners
10.
J Interpers Violence ; : 886260521997454, 2021 Mar 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1119376

ABSTRACT

Stay at home orders-intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by limiting social contact-have forced people to remain in their homes. The additional stressors created by the need to stay home and socially isolate may act as triggers to intimate partner violence (IPV). In this article, we present data from a recent online cross-sectional survey with gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) in the United States to illustrate changes in IPV risks that have occurred during the U.S. COVID-19 epidemic. The Love and Sex in the Time of COVID-19 survey was conducted online from April to May 2020. GBMSM were recruited through paid banner advertisements featured on social networking platforms, recruiting a sample size of 696 GBMSM. Analysis considers changes in victimization and perpetration of IPV during the 3 months prior to the survey (March-May 2020) that represents the first 3 months of lockdown during the COVID-19 epidemic. During the period March-May 2020, 12.6% of participants reported experiencing any IPV with higher rates of emotional IPV (10.3%) than sexual (2.2%) or physical (1.8%) IPV. Of those who reported IPV victimization during lockdown, for almost half this was their first time experience: 5.3% reported the IPV they experienced happened for the first time during the past 3 months (0.8% physical, 2.13% sexual, and 3.3% emotional). Reporting of perpetration of IPV during lockdown was lower: only 6% reported perpetrating any IPV, with perpetration rates of 1.5% for physical, 0.5% for sexual, and 5.3% for emotional IPV. Of those who reported perpetration of IPV during lockdown, very small percentages reported that this was the first time they had perpetrated IPV: 0.9% for any IPV (0.2% physical, 0.2% sexual, and 0.6% emotional). The results illustrate an increased need for IPV resources for GBMSM during these times of increased stress and uncertainty, and the need to find models of resource and service delivery that can work inside of social distancing guidelines while protecting the confidentiality and safety of those who are experiencing IPV.

11.
Am J Mens Health ; 14(5): 1557988320957545, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-772041

ABSTRACT

While there is evidence of variations in the risk perceptions of COVID-19 and that they are linked to both engagement in health-protective behaviors and poor mental health outcomes, there has been a lack of attention to how individuals perceive the risk of COVID-19 relative to other infectious diseases. This paper examines the relative perceptions of the severity of COVID-19 and HIV among a sample of U.S. gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSMs). The "Love and Sex in the Time of COVID-19" survey was conducted online from April 2020 to May 2020. GBMSMs were recruited through paid banner advertisements featured on social networking platforms, resulting in a sample size of 696. The analysis considers differences in responses to two scales: the Perceived Severity of HIV Infection and the Perceived Severity of COVID-19 Infection. Participants perceived greater seriousness for HIV infection (mean 46.67, range 17-65) than for COVID-19 infection (mean 38.81, range 13-62). Some items reflecting more proximal impacts of infection (anxiety, loss of sleep, and impact on employment) were similar for HIV and COVID-19. Those aged over 25 and those who perceived higher prevalence of COVID-19 in the United States or their state were more likely to report COVID-19 as more severe than HIV. There is a need to develop nuanced public health messages for GBMSMs that convey the ongoing simultaneous health threats of both HIV and COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Homosexuality, Male/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Risk-Taking , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Bisexuality/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Incidence , Internet , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Risk Assessment , Severity of Illness Index , Sexual Behavior , Survival Analysis , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
12.
AIDS Behav ; 25(1): 40-48, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-739667

ABSTRACT

This paper presents data from a recent cross-sectional survey of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) in the US, to understand changes in sexual behavior and access to HIV prevention options (i.e. condoms and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)) during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The Love and Sex in the Time of COVID-19 survey was conducted online from April to May, 2020. GBMSM were recruited through advertisements featured on social networking platforms, recruiting a sample size of 518 GBMSM. Analysis considers changes three in self-reported measures of sexual behavior: number of sex partners, number of anal sex partners and number of anal sex partners not protected by pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or condoms. Approximately two-thirds of the sample reported that they believed it was possible to contract COVID-19 through sex, with anal sex reported as the least risky sex act. Men did not generally feel it was important to reduce their number of sex partners during COVID-19, but reported a moderate willingness to have sex during COVID-19. For the period between February and April-May 20,202, participants reported a mean increase of 2.3 sex partners during COVID-19, a mean increase of 2.1 anal sex partners (range - 40 to 70), but a very small increase in the number of unprotected anal sex partners. Increases in sexual behavior during COVID-19 were associated with increases in substance use during the same period. High levels of sexual activity continue to be reported during the COVID-19 lockdown period and these high levels of sexual activity are often paralleled by increases in substance use and binge drinking. There is a clear need to continue to provide comprehensive HIV prevention and care services during COVID-19, and telehealth and other eHealth platforms provide a safe, flexible mechanism for providing services.


Subject(s)
Bisexuality/psychology , COVID-19/prevention & control , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male/psychology , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , Sexual Behavior/psychology , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/psychology , Condoms/statistics & numerical data , Cross-Sectional Studies , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Sexual Behavior/statistics & numerical data , Sexual Partners , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Unsafe Sex/psychology , Unsafe Sex/statistics & numerical data , Young Adult
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