Affordable Access

deepdyve-link
Publisher Website

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
  • Gabster, Amanda1, 2
  • Erausquin, Jennifer Toller3
  • Michielsen, Kristien4
  • Mayaud, Philippe5, 6
  • Pascale, Juan Miguel2, 7
  • Pericas, Carles8
  • Marks, Michael5
  • Katz, Jennifer2
  • Talavero, Gonzalo Cabezas2
  • de Argote, Marilu2
  • Murillo, Anet2
  • Tucker, Joseph D5
  • 1 Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Clinical Research Department, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK [email protected]
  • 2 Genómica y Proteómica, Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud, Panama, Panama. , (Panama)
  • 3 School of Health and Human Sciences, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.
  • 4 Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Universiteit Gent, Gent, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 5 Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Clinical Research Department, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
  • 6 Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Clinical Research Department, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London, UK.
  • 7 Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Panama, Panama, Panama. , (Panama)
  • 8 Faculty of Medicine and Health, Universiteit Gent, Gent, Belgium. , (Belgium)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Sexually transmitted infections
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2022
Volume
98
Issue
5
Pages
332–340
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1136/sextrans-2021-054985
PMID: 34400575
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

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. 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. 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. 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. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times