icon-folder.gif   Conference Reports for NATAP  
Jan & 27 - 28
Feb 3 & 4 - 2021
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Social, economic, mental health, and medical care impacts of COVID-19 in a US cohort of sexual and gender minority adolescents and young adults (SGM AYA) at-risk for HIV
  HIVR4P virtual
Jan & 27 - 28
Feb 3 & 4 - 2021
P.A. Serrano1, E. Daubert1, A. Muņoz1, A.L. French1, 2 ,and S.G. Hosek1, 2
1 CORE Center &
2 Stroger Hospital of Cook County Health
in Chicago, Illinois, United States


The United States' national response to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted schools, work places, and healthcare. As the shut down continued, the American Public Health Association warned of developing mental health crises across the US. In this study we aim to understand the scope of the pandemic on the emotional and financial well-being as well as access to routine HIV/STI and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among sexual and gender minority youth and young adults.
METHODS: Participants in the Keeping it LITE virtual cohort study were surveyed in May of 2020, and were administered an online survey asking them to reflect on their COVID-19 related experiences since March of 2020. The survey collected demographic data and questions on the impacts of COVID-19. Those enrolled in the parent study were ages 13-34, cisgender men or transgender/gender nonconforming individuals, who have behavioral risk factors that make them vulnerable to HIV. Descriptive statistics were collected and reported via Qualtrics.
RESULTS: 2116 participants, or over half of the cohort responded (61.5%). Mean age was 26.21 (sd=4.84), a majority were male (81%), White (55%), and gay (69%). Many participants reported decreased wages (33.33%) or losing their jobs (27.41%). A majority of participants reported negative impacts on mental health (80.61%), including increased anxiety (58.3%) and depression (42.93%). A significant minority of PrEP users (42.3%) reported changing or stopping PrEP during the pandemic, due to disrupted PrEP follow-up care (43.8%), while 20% reported difficulty accessing HIV/STI testing during the pandemic.
CONCLUSIONS: Most of the study participants experienced disruptions to their daily lives in the areas of employment and healthcare. During this relatively short time period, these vulnerable youth reported an alarming rise in mental health problems, financial distress, and difficulties in accessing HIV preventive and STI care. Longitudinal data are needed to quantify the full impact of the pandemic on the mental health and prevention behaviors of sexual and gender minority youth and young adults.