How did COVID-19 measures impact sexual behaviour and access to HIV/STI services in Panama? Results from a national cross-sectional online survey
Authors & affiliation
Amanda Gabster, Jennifer Toller Erausquin, Kristien Michielsen, Philippe Mayaud, Juan Miguel Pascale, Carles Pericas Escale, Michael Marks, Jennifer Katz, Gonzalo Cabezas Talavero, Marilu de Argote, Anet Murillo, Joseph D Tucker
Objective To describe reported changes in sexual behaviours, including virtual sex (sexting and cybersex), and access to HIV/STI testing and care during COVID-19 measures in Panama. Methods We conducted an online cross-sectional survey from 8 August to 12 September 2020 among adults (>= 18 years) residing in Panama. Participants were recruited through social media. Questions included demographics, access to HIV/STI testing and HIV care, and sexual behaviours 3 months before COVID-19 social distancing measures and during social distancing measures (COVID-19 measures). Logistic regression was used to identify associations between variables and behavioural changes. Results We recruited 960 participants; 526 (54.8%) identified as cis-women, 366 (38.1%) cis-men and 68 (7.1%) non-binary or another gender. The median age was 28 years (IQR: 23-37 years), and 531 of 957 (55.5%) were of mixed ethnicity (mixed Indigenous/European/Afro-descendant ancestry). Before COVID-19 measures, virtual sex was reported by 38.5% (181 of 470) of cis-women, 58.4% (184 of 315) cis-men and 45.0% (27 of 60) non-binary participants. During COVID-19 measures, virtual sex increased among 17.2% of cis-women, 24.7% cis-men and 8.9% non-binary participants. During COVID-19 measures, 230 of 800 (28.8%) participants reported decreased casual sex compared with pre-COVID-19 measures. Compared with pre-COVID-19 measures, decreased casual sex was reported more frequently during COVID-19 measures by cis-men compared with cis-women (39.2% vs 22.9%, urban/rural adjusted OR (AOR)=2.17, 95% CI 1.57 to 3.01), and by Afro-descendant compared with participants of mixed ethnicity (40.0% vs 29.8%, AOR=1.78, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.94). Compared with no change in virtual sex (16.8%), increased virtual sex (38.5%, AOR=1.78, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.88) and decreased virtual sex (86.7%, AOR=16.53, 95% CI 7.74 to 35.27) were associated with decreased casual sex encounters. During COVID-19 measures, HIV/STI testing could not be obtained by 58.0% (58 of 100) of the participants who needed a test, and interrupted HIV care was reported by 53.3% (8 of 15) of participants living with HIV. Conclusions COVID-19 measures in Panama were associated with a decrease in casual sex among cis-men and Afro-descendant people, while access to HIV/STI testing and care was seriously disrupted.
Link to publication
Stanley Lüchters, Davy Vanden Broeck, Matthew Chersich, Annalene Nel, Wim Delva, Kishor Mandaliya, Christophe Depuydt, Patricia Claeys, John-Paul Bogers, Marleen Temmerman2013 Maternal anaemia and duration of zidovudine in antiretroviral regimens for preventing mother-to-child transmission : a randomized trial in three African countries
Benn KD Sartorius, Matthew Chersich, Mary Mwaura, Nicolas Meda, Marleen Temmerman, Marie Louise Newell, Timothy Farley, Stanley Lüchters2020 High burden of self-reported sexually transmitted infections among key populations in Mozambique : the urgent need for an integrated surveillance system
Makini Boothe, Charlotte Comé, Cynthia Semá Baltazar, Noela Chicuecue, Jessica Seleme, Denise Chitsondzo Langa, Isabel Sathane, Henry F. Raymond, Erika Fazito, Marleen Temmerman, Stanley Lüchters