Dr. Harsha Thirumurthy published a new paper in JAMA Network Open, with key points summarized below.
Question: How have COVID-19 lockdowns factored into the economic well-being, food security, and sexual behavior of vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries?
Findings: In this survey study of 1725 women at high risk of HIV infection in rural Kenya, COVID-19 lockdowns were associated with declines in employment, income, and numbers of sexual partners and transactional sex partners. Respondents also reported high levels of food insecurity.
Meaning: These findings suggest that COVID-19 lockdowns may negatively impact the economic well-being of vulnerable populations with limited access to social services but may also temporarily reduce the risk of HIV transmission in these high-risk populations.