A new study of gay and bisexual Australian men found the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a dramatic reduction in casual sexual behavior.
Researchers at the Kirby Institute surveyed 940 gay and bi men about casual sex practices and found the number of sexual contacts dropped 84 percent in the month of April. Other than monogamous relationships, all types of sexual intimacy saw a steep decline in the number of hookups.
Additionally, 95 percent acknowledged they understood the risk of hooking up and/or having group sex represented an increased risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Dr. Mohamed A. Hammoud, the lead author of the study, told QNews decades of coping with the HIV epidemic has taught gay and bisexual men how to be adaptive in the face of health threats.
“Our community has a long history of creating innovative strategies to reduce risk,” explained Hammoud. “[We’re] seeing this continue with this new health challenge.”
Hammoud added, “The results from our study show that an overwhelming majority of gay and bisexual men have adapted their behavior and are adhering to physical distancing guidelines.”
There is an upside to the drop in hooking up.
The decline in casual sex will likely result in “a reduction in new HIV and STI diagnoses in the short term,” according to Associate Professor Garrett Prestage, one of the co-authors of the study.
“Trends in these diagnoses are likely to fluctuate significantly in response to changes in physical distancing restrictions,” said Prestage.
The new study was published in the medical journal JAIDS on Friday.