Methods: Data for this study come from a cross-sectional survey implemented by Hornet, a popular gay social-networking app among GBMSM. Hornet users were invited to participate in an online survey related to the impact of COVID-19 on diverse health-related outcomes in August 2020. Descriptive analyses characterize GBMSM’s comfort attending social/sexual venues and engaging in sexual contact during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and logistic regression analyses describe correlates of sexual contact during the pandemic.
Results: A total of 15,499 participants from 132 countries were included in these analyses. At the time of being surveyed, over half (64.8%) had physical sexual contact with a partner they met on a gay social networking app since the COVID-19 crisis began. Relative to those who had not had a COVID-19 test, those who did were 1.2 times more likely to report sexual contact. Relative to those who tested negative for COVID, those who tested positive were 1.3 times more likely to have sexual contact. Almost half (45.2%) of GBMSM who had sexual contact reported feeling comfortable going to a bar now. Related to HIV prevention, 12.13% reported having no or less access to condoms and/or lubricants during the COVID-19 crisis, and 1.4% of those who have ever taken PrEP stopped due to COVID.
Conclusions and Implications: Sexual partnerships forged online have continued among GBMSM during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our data shows that there is a need for ongoing attention to HIV prevention focused on social and sexual venues GBMSM frequent. Additionally, geosocial networking applications may be leveraged to reach users with COVID-19 vaccine and testing information.