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).
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.
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.
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.