Brief Report: Changes in PrEP Use, Sexual Practice, and Use of Face Mask During Sex Among MSM During the Second Wave of COVID-19 in Melbourne, Australia

Eric P.F. Chow, Jane S. Hocking, Jason J. Ong, Tiffany R. Phillips, Tina Schmidt, Andrew Buchanan, Elena Rodriguez, Kate Maddaford, Christopher K. Fairley

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29 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: A second wave of COVID-19 began in late June in Victoria, Australia. Stage 3 then Stage 4 restrictions were introduced in July-August. This study aimed to compare the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and sexual practices among men who have sex with men taking PrEP between May-June (post-first lockdown) and July-August (second lockdown). METHODS: This was an online survey conducted among men who have sex with men who had their PrEP managed at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Australia. A short message service with a link to the survey was sent to 503 PrEP clients who provided consent to receive a short message service from Melbourne Sexual Health Centre in August 2020. RESULTS: Of the 192 participants completed the survey, 153 (80%) did not change how they took PrEP. Of the 136 daily PrEP users, 111 (82%) continued to take daily PrEP, 3 (2%) switched to on-demand PrEP, and 22 (16%) stopped PrEP in July-August. Men generally reported that they had no partners or decreased sexual activities during second lockdown compared with post-first lockdown; the number of casual sex partners (43% decreased vs. 3% increased) and the number of kissing partners (36% decreased vs. 3% increased). Most men reported no chemsex (79%) or group sex (77%) in May-August. 10% (13/127) of men had ever worn face masks during sex in May-August. CONCLUSION: During the second wave of COVID-19 in Victoria, most men did not change the way they used PrEP but the majority had no risks or reduced sexual practices while one in 10 men wore a face mask during sex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-156
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

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