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Published on 6. Authors of this article:. Background: In the past few months, the coronavirus disease COVID pandemic has caused extensive economic and social damage. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of COVID—related measures on partner relationships and sexual and reproductive health in China. Methods: From May 1 to 5, , young Chinese individuals were recruited through WeChat or Weibo to participate in a survey to obtain information on sexual and reproductive health eg, sexual desire, frequency of sexual intercourse, sexual satisfaction, etc.
The questionnaire also collected demographic data eg, age, race, education, current financial status, sexual orientation, relationship status, etc. : In total, participants were included in the sexual health analysis. COVID also caused disruptions in reproductive health services such as prenatal and postnatal care, childbirth and abortion services, contraception availability, and the management of sexually transmitted infections. Conclusions: Our show that many young people have wide-ranging issues affecting their sexual and reproductive health due to the COVID pandemic and related containment measures.
Strategies and guidelines are needed to safeguard the sexual and reproductive health of young people during this pandemic. In the past few months, the coronavirus disease COVID pandemic and related containment measures have caused extensive economic and social damage to many countries like China and the United States [ 1 - 3 ]. From February to April , all schools and many businesses in China were closed. In addition, many provinces have implemented guidelines to reduce pressure on the health care system, including the suspension of nonemergency medical care and elective surgeries [ 6 ].
These disruptions have had a ificant impact on the physical and mental health, as well as quality of life, of individuals [ 7 , 8 ]. So far, there is little report about the effects of COVID on sexual and reproductive health [ 9 , 10 ]. Sexually active young people are facing more and more health challenges globally [ 11 , 12 ], and various aspects of their reproductive and sexual health may be affected by COVID On the one hand, many young people are facing economic and psychological pressures caused by job loss or suspension of schooling.
On the other hand, separation from sexual partners and lack of access to comprehensive health care services may be increasing the risk of experiencing negative sexual health outcomes. Network-based sexual health risk assessments have been considered acceptable, and internet technology has become a powerful tool to promote health [ 13 , 14 ]. To assess the impact of COVID pandemic and related containment measures on partner relationships and sexual and reproductive health, we conducted a series of preliminary analyses using data from an internet-based survey among Chinese youths and young adults.
We conducted a cross-sectional, online survey using Questionnaire Star, an online questionnaire survey platform with 82,, users in China. A item survey Multimedia Appendix 1 was constructed to assess changes in people's sexual and reproductive health during the COVID pandemic. Between May 1 and 5, , participants in China received links and s from WeChat or Weibo similar to WhatsApp and Twitter, respectively , inviting them to participate in a confidential, minute, online survey about sexual and reproductive health on the Questionnaire Star platform.
Multiple reminders were sent via messaging software, and the invitation letter stated that the current survey was for participants who were sexually active. Duplicate entries were prevented by restricting users with the same IP Internet Protocol address from accessing the survey more than once. A missed answer reminder component prompted participants about unfinished questionnaires in real time, and incomplete questionnaires were not submitted to the system.
In addition, participants were unable to submit the questionnaire if their total answering time was less than 3 minutes. Before entering the online survey system, all participants reviewed and approved the electronic consent . This research was approved by the Ethics Review Committee of Anhui Medical University for research and publication purposes. The questionnaire collected data on age, race, education, current financial status, SARS-CoV-2 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection status of participants and those around them, self-rated health, accommodations before and during the pandemic, medical and surgical history of participants and their partners, pregnancy if female , abortion history, sexual orientation, relationship status ie, exclusive partnership or not , sexual desire, frequency of sexual intercourse, sexual satisfaction, alcohol consumption before or during sexual activities, frequency of masturbation, frequency of use of pornographic content, proportion of condom use in sexual encounters , risky sexual behavior, and presence of sexually transmitted infections STIs.
Before the questionnaire was distributed, 10 college students and 2 professors participated in a pilot study to verify and modify the contents of the questionnaire. Of those invited, A total of participants were included in the sexual health analysis. The characteristics of the study participants are shown in Table 1.
The mean age was All participants were Han Chinese. In all, There were ificant differences in sexual health and outcomes between students in an exclusive relationship compared to those who were not in an exclusive relationship. The logistic regression analysis indicated that accommodations during the pandemic, exclusive relationship status, sexual desire, and sexual satisfaction were closely related to partner relationships Table 3. Nine participants who were pregnant reported having difficulties accessing maternal care or delivery services due to COVID or related measures.
These difficulties included shortages in the of hospital beds available for childbirth, restrictions on the of people accompanying pregnant women for examination or hospitalization, and failure to receive timely prenatal examination. Participants who reported a recent abortion described difficulties primarily with making appointments to see a doctor or for surgeries. However, 8. Our study provides preliminary evidence on the direct impact of the COVID pandemic and related containment measures on partner relationships and sexual and reproductive health.
The show that many young people had decreased sexual desire and frequency of sexual intercourse due to COVID In addition, a relatively large of participants reported a ificant reduction in alcohol-related sexual consequences and risky sexual behavior. Increased family supervision or interference, less personal freedom overall, and poor mental health and partner relationships are likely contributors to these changes in sexual behavior.
We found that many participants reported an increase in masturbation frequency and use of pornography. Although masturbation may have helped some people achieve sexual satisfaction without the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, a high masturbation rate is related to a decrease in quality of life and sexual satisfaction [ 15 ]. High-frequency pornography use may also negatively impact sexual function and quality of life [ 16 ].
Our research also provides preliminary evidence of interruptions in reproductive health services due to COVID, such as prenatal and postnatal examination, delivery and abortion services, contraception availability, and STI management. In addition, we found that even in a country with a sound drug supply system such as China, contraceptives in some areas were out of stock or in short supply during the pandemic.
The limitations of the current study include the use of a self-deed questionnaire and the reliance upon self-reporting in the midst of the constantly changing prevalence of COVID As a result, our findings are based on cross-sectional data from local convenient samples. In addition, the impact of the COVID pandemic on the sexual health of special groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and people living with HIV, has not been reported in the current research.
Further large-scale longitudinal studies are needed to understand the impact of the pandemic on sexual and reproductive health in different regions and populations. The COVID pandemic and related containment measures affect young people's sexual health, and targeted interventions are needed to improve health and well-being. In addition, since society is currently focusing on COVID response, basic reproductive health services and supply chain operations have been disrupted. Such services should be protected from disruption and be delivered during the pandemic. The authors acknowledge all participants and health care providers who participated in this study.
Edited by G Eysenbach; submitted Article Authors Cited by 35 Tweetations 12 Metrics. Original Paper. COVID ; survey ; novel coronavirus ; sexual behavior ; sexual health ; reproductive health ; young adults ; youth ; China. Table 1. Table 2. Table 3. Risk factors related to partner relationships determined by the logistic regression analysis.
Multimedia Appendix 1 Questionnaire English version. If the world fails to protect the economy, COVID will damage health not just now but also in the future. Nat Med May;26 5 Nat Hum Behav May 30;4 5 Int J Gynaecol Obstet Jul 11; 1 Satisfaction sexual, life, relationship, and mental health is associated directly with penile-vaginal intercourse, but inversely with other sexual behavior frequencies.
J Sex Med Jul;6 7Corona SD sex dating
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