Eye-opening study reveals just how many queer men have been hooking up through lockdown
Gay and bisexual men are having significantly less sex in the age of coronavirus, according to a new survey, though some haven’t changed their sexual habits at all.
The survey was conducted by Australia’s Kirby Institute, with 940 gay and bisexual men revealing their sexual habits since the coronavirus began its rapid spread in March — and the results are eye-opening.
The results — published in JAIDS — showed that there was a 12-fold decrease in the number of sexual partners gay and bisexual men were having sex with after the pandemic hit.
Of the 587 men who said they were having casual sex before the pandemic, 84 per cent said they had stopped hooking up. The other 16 per cent said they’d continued to have casual sex throughout the pandemic.
Almost 95 per cent of men recognised that sex with a variety of partners, as well as group sex, posed a particular risk for transmission of the virus.
Gay and bisexual men are changing their sexual habits to help tackle coronavirus.
Researchers conducted the study to predict short term changes in rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The results indicate that queer men are changing their sexual behaviour in an effort to reduce the risk of transmitting or contracting COVID-19.
“Gay and bisexual men have adjusted their prevention strategies throughout the HIV epidemic to protect themselves and each other,” said the study’s lead author Dr Mohamed A. Hammoud.
Despite the often negative impacts on individuals, we must recognise their investment in the health of themselves and their peers.
“Our community has a long history of creating innovative strategies to reduce risk, and we are seeing this continue with this new health challenge.”
Meanwhile, the paper’s senior author Garrett Prestage noted that queer men have “dramatically” reduced sexual contact to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
“As a consequence, it is also likely that we will see a reduction in new HIV and STI diagnoses in the short term,” he said.
“Trends in these diagnoses are likely to fluctuate significantly in response to changes in physical distancing restrictions.”
Researchers will also analyse the impact the pandemic has had on queer men’s mental heath.
Responses to the survey are also being analysed to understand the impact the pandemic has had on the mental and social health of gay and bisexual men.
“We thank every participant who has taken the time to respond,” Dr Hammoud said.
“Often this has been accompanied by raw and moving detail about how COVID-19 has impacted their lives.
“Despite the often negative impacts on individuals, we must recognise their investment in the health of themselves and their peers.”
There are now more than 17 million confirmed cases of coronavirus across the world, with more than 670,000 confirmed deaths.
An estimated 11 million people have recovered from the virus.
Queer people across the world have been reigning in their sexual practices since March in an effort to slow the spread of the infection.
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