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COVID-19-Related Disruptions to HIV Testing and Prevention Among Young Sexual Minority Men 17-24 Years Old: A Qualitative Study Using Synchronous Online Focus Groups, April-September 2020. Arch Sex Behav 2022 Jan;51(1):303-314



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Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85119150756 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   9 Citations


Prior research has highlighted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV prevention services within the U.S., but few studies have explored this impact through an exploratory, qualitative lens. In this study, we sought to highlight the voices of young sexual minority men (YSMM) 17-24 years old and explored the perceived impact of the pandemic on HIV prevention among a diverse, nationwide sample of YSMM who participated in synchronous online focus group discussions between April and September 2020. Forty-one YSMM described the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV testing and prevention services, including limited and disrupted access to HIV testing, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and HIV post-exposure prophylaxis. COVID-19-related challenges were compounded by ongoing, pre-COVID-19 barriers experienced by YSMM in the U.S. For instance, many YSMM relocated back home with family, causing men to avoid HIV prevention services for fear of outing themselves to relatives. YSMM also worried about placing their family at increased risk of COVID-19 by attending clinical appointments. YSMM who did seek HIV prevention services, including access to PrEP, experienced significant barriers, including limited appointment availability and services not tailored to YSMM. Further efforts are needed to support YSMM re-engaging in HIV prevention during and after the COVID-19 era.

Author List

Zapata JP, Dang M, Quinn KG, Horvath KJ, Stephenson R, Dickson-Gomez J, John SA


Julia Dickson-Gomez PhD Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Steven A. John PhD Assistant Professor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Katherine Quinn PhD Associate Professor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Focus Groups
HIV Infections
Homosexuality, Male
Sexual and Gender Minorities
Young Adult