Vast majority of gay and bi men kept COVID-19 symptoms hidden from sex partners, study finds

Vast majority of gay and bi men kept COVID-19 symptoms hidden from sex partners, study finds

Well, this certainly won’t do much to restore your faith in humanity, but…

A study out of Vanderbilt University has found that the vast majority of gay and bisexual men who experienced COVID-19 symptoms and, in some cases, tested positive for coronavirus, earlier this year kept it hidden from their sexual partners.

The study focused on a 30 day period–April 10 and May 10–and examined the sexual behaviors of roughly 750 gay and bisexual men living in the United States, many in places that had stay-at-home orders.

Researchers noted that a fair amount of men “made significant changes to their sexual behavior and partner selection,” with 9 out of 10 reporting zero to one sexual partners in the 30 day time period, a “substantial decrease [for many] compared to just before the pandemic.”

They also noted that a large number of men reported changes to the “kinds of partners they had and their sexual activities with partners (e.g., more virtual sex)” and that they “engaged in new strategies to reduce their risks of infection from partners.”

Many respondents said it was “extremely important” to them that sexual partners take COVID-related precautions, like washing hands (69%) and informing of any symptoms such as fever or cough (75%).

59% also felt it was important that sexual partners be honest about their sexual activity during the pandemic, while 45% wanted to know exactly what precautions their partners were taking to stay healthy.

Now, here’s where things take a turn.

Because while the vast majority of respondents said they were wanted to know about a sexual partner’s behavior prior to hooking up, the vast majority also said they wouldn’t tell a sexual partner about any COVID-19 symptoms or even a positive coronavirus test result.

Seriously, guys?

Oh, but it gets worse.

11% of the respondents said they had experienced a “flu-like illness” during the study’s time frame, but less than half of them (39%) shared this with their partners before hooking up. The remaining 61% kept it a total secret.

Researchers concluded by suggesting that “targeted messaging” be directed towards gay and bisexual men about encouraging honest conversations regarding COVID-19 symptoms and safe sex practices.

We conclude that, if you belong to that 61% of guys, you’re no longer invited to the kiki!

Related: Meet the hunky Spanish doctor who beat coronavirus and just became Mr. Gay World Pride

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