Covid-19 and Sexual Health: Lessons Learned, Digital Futures?

'COVID-19 and LGBT Sexual Health: Lessons learned, digital futures?' explores the experiences of LGBT service users accessing online services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This ground-breaking report examines the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on LGBT sexual health and identifies the need for investment and innovation in future service provision.

The report sets out a series of recommendations for sexual health services, both general services and LGBT-specific, on how to address problems that predate COVID-19, were exacerbated by the lockdown, and will continue to affect services after the pandemic is over.

"It is essential that we continue to learn from the communities we serve, and ensure that LGBT+ individuals can access inclusive sexual health and HIV prevention services that are responsive to their needs; both during the pandemic and as we come out of it."

- Foreword by Dr. Michael Brady, National Advisor for LGBT Health

Some of the key findings from this report include:

  • 79% of respondents were not aware that PEP could still be accessed from A&E and GUM clinics. In addition, it is concerning that some respondents expressed fears that they would face obstacles and discrimination if they had sought PEP from A&E.
  • 88% of respondents did not seek testing for HIV or other STIs - only 9% did so by mail, and 3% did so face-to-face. Over half (51%) of respondents said they would like to get tested after lockdown and an additional 28% said they ‘might’ want to get tested.
  • 46% of respondents wanted to continue to engage with services after lockdown, and 78% would like a blended model of online and face-to-face services. Continuing the level of online services and activities whilst also providing face-to-face services is likely to require an increase in resources.

COVID-19 and LGBT Sexual Health: Lessons learned, digital futures?, authored by Dr Jaime García-Iglesias, (Research Felllow at the University of Hertfordshire) and Mildred Baxter (Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh), was made possible thanks to the Economic and Social Research Council funding through the University of Manchester Collaboration Labs programme.

This research project won the University of Manchester's 2020 Project Excellence Award.