Covid-19 Digital Research


Public Health


Collective sex venues (places where people have sex in groups or in the presence of others, such as bathhouses or sex clubs) are locations where SARS-CoV-2 transmission is likely to occur. We conducted an online survey to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic among 342 sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals who had attended collective sex venues (CSV) in New York City (NYC) in the prior year. Almost 1 in 10 (9.9%) participants reported having received a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 infection or antibodies. Although a minority (27.5%) of participants reported being comfortable attending a CSV during the COVID-19 pandemic, multivariable ordinal logistic regression found that willingness was higher among participants who had taken the survey later in the pandemic (aOR = 2.90, CI95% 1.90 to 4.43), who attended CSV at higher frequencies (aOR = 1.94, CI95% 1.26 to 2.99), who used substances at CSV (aOR = 1.98, CI95% 1.22 to 3.23), and who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection or antibodies (aOR = 2.27, CI95% 1.17 to 4.39). In open survey answers, participants described reasons for or against attending CSV during the pandemic, as well as risk reduction strategies that would make them more comfortable attending (e.g., screening for test results, doing temperature checks, holding outdoor events, or restricting events to lower risk sexual practices). SGM individuals who attend CSV might be at increased risk for COVID-19. Public health officials should provide CSV organizers and attendees with guidelines on how to prevent or minimize transmission risk in the context of pandemics such as COVID-19.

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