How COVID-19 Altered HIV Care, PrEP Use, and Sexual Behaviors of MSM within the Southern US

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A big proportion of males who’ve intercourse with males (MSM) discontinued or altered their pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) regimens, reported interruptions in HIV companies, and decreased dangerous sexual behaviors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on a survey printed within the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. This examine provides to a analysis development exhibiting COVID-19’s vital affect on HIV/AIDS prevention and remedy. 

Investigators carried out cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses on knowledge collected from a cohort examine that examined PrEP use amongst MSM surveyed on-line between October 2019 and July 2020. Contributors have been cisgender males aged 18 to 34 years, who lived within the southern US, reported partaking in anal intercourse with a person up to now 6 months, have been HIV damaging, and have been at the moment on PrEP.

There have been 78 individuals enrolled at baseline in October 2019. Then from June to July 2020, 56 (72%) responded to a further survey, known as “the COVID-19 survey,” which requested particularly in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on individuals’ sexual habits, PrEP use, and entry to sexual well being companies resembling sexually transmitted illness (STD) testing, HIV testing, and PrEP entry.


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At baseline, 45% (n=35) have been 18 to 24 years of age, 27% (n=20) have been non-Hispanic Black, and 91% (n=71) recognized as homosexual. Within the COVID-19 survey, 39% (n=22) have been 18 to 24 years outdated and 19% (n=10) have been non-Hispanic Black.

Within the cross-sectional evaluation of the COVID-19 survey, 9% (n=5) of individuals discontinued PrEP use, 16% (n=8) reported problem acquiring PrEP, and 4% (n=2) reported switching to event-based dosing. Moreover, 32% (n=18) didn’t have an HIV check, and 43% (n=24) didn’t have an STD check up to now 3 months, with 20% (n=11) reporting problem acquiring an HIV check and 18% (n=10) reporting problem acquiring an STD check due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most individuals reported a lower in all sexual behaviors examined because the starting of the COVID-19 pandemic aside from sexual exercise with a major accomplice. Within the longitudinal evaluation of baseline individuals, all sexual habits indicators – having a number of sexual companions, anal intercourse, oral intercourse, and condomless intercourse – up to now 2 weeks declined from February to April, then elevated from April to June, in contrast with inconsistent, random fluctuations within the months earlier than the pandemic.

The examine had some limitations. Investigators couldn’t longitudinally study how testing behaviors have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. All the information have been self-reported and prone to social desirability biases, and choice bias might have occurred as a result of the COVID-19 survey was elective and never accomplished by all of the baseline individuals. The surveys have been out there solely in English, excluding non-English-speaking populations from this evaluation.

These findings emphasize the necessity to make variations to the supply of HIV companies throughout a pandemic, resembling “laboratory-only visits for indicated HIV/STD assessments, at-home HIV/STD testing, self-testing for HIV via an oral swab-based check, extending the prescription of PrEP to a 90-day provide…utilizing telemedicine when potential, and at last referring sufferers elsewhere if wanted companies can’t be offered,” the examine authors wrote.

Reference

Pampati S, Emrick Ok, Siegler AJ, Jones J. Adjustments in sexual behavior, PrEP adherence, and entry to sexual well being companies because of the COVID-19 pandemic amongst a cohort of PrEP-using MSM within the South. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2021;87:639-643. doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000002640



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