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COVID-19 Testing in a Weekly Cohort Study of Gay and Bisexual Men: The Impact of Health-Seeking Behaviors and Social Connection

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posted on 2023-08-30, 02:13 authored by MA Hammoud, N Wells, M Holt, B Bavinton, F Jin, L Maher, S Philpot, B Haire, L Degenhardt, Adam BourneAdam Bourne, P Saxton, P Keen, D Storer, Garrett PrestageGarrett Prestage
Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBM) have developed community norms for regular HIV/STI testing. We investigated factors associated with self-reported COVID-19 testing in response to reported COVID-19 cases and public health restrictions. Participants responded to weekly cohort surveys between 10th May 2021 and 27th September 2021. We used the Andersen-Gill extensions to the Cox proportional hazards model for multivariable survival data to predict factors influencing COVID-19 testing. Mean age of the 942 study participants was 45.6 years (SD: 13.9). In multivariable analysis, GBM were more likely to report testing during periods of high COVID-19 caseload in their state of residence; if they were younger; university educated; close contact of someone with COVID-19; or reported coping with COVID-19 poorly. COVID-19 testing was higher among men who: were more socially engaged with other GBM; had a higher proportion of friends willing to vaccinate against COVID-19; and were willing to contact sexual partners for contact tracing. Social connection with other gay men was associated with COVID-19 testing, similar to what has been observed throughout the HIV epidemic, making community networks a potential focus for the promotion of COVID-19 safe practices.

Funding

The Kirby Institute, Centre for Social Research in Health, and the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. This project was supported by: New South Wales Ministry of Health, via the Prevention Research Support Program; New South Wales Ministry of Health, via the Blood Borne Virus, STIs and Viral Hepatitis Research Program (BRISE). LM, BB, BH are supported by the award of a NHMRC Research Fellowship.

History

Publication Date

2023-03-01

Journal

AIDS and Behavior

Volume

27

Pagination

(p. 948-956)

Publisher

Springer Nature

ISSN

1090-7165

Rights Statement

© The Author(s) 2022 This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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