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In the USA, the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges beyond the direct consequences of the infection. Because of shifting resources in response to need, many domains within the healthcare sector unrelated to COVID-19 have had inter - rupted abilities to provide care. In the current study, we focus on preventative sexual health care during the pandemic. In a sample of 511 (mean age = 27.7) people, we examined quantitative data regarding continuation and discontinuation of birth control and PrEP during the pandemic, along with qualitative data illustrating the underlying reasons for participants’ (dis) continuation. Results showed that most (92.5%) of birth control users reported continuation of their birth control, with the predominant reasons reported being use for health reasons, long-acting reversible contraceptive use, access to remote health - care services, and increased vigilance over pregnancy prevention. Conversely, around half (52.6%) of PrEP-using participants reported already discontinuing or planning to discontinue their PrEP regimen. Temporary abstinence and concerns about accessing in-person health care were the predominant reasons for PrEP discontinuation. These results have implications for both researchers and sexual healthcare providers. Disruptions to preventative sexual health care should be considered in ongoing research about patient needs, and healthcare providers may wish to consider particular challenges faced by PrEP users concerning re-start and continuation.


This work was originally published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, available at

This article is made available for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.


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