BACKGROUND: COVID-19 stay-at-home orders enacted in New Orleans, LA on 3/16/2020, may have caused changes in the way young men interacted with sex partners .
METHODS: An online sub-study was conducted (5/21/2020-6/9/2020) among Black men who have sex with women ,> 18 years old, and who had previously enrolled in the parent study Check It (5/17/2017-3/16/2020) to assess changes in sexual behavior during the stay-at-home orders .
RESULTS: Among 111 participants, from enrollment in Check It to during stay-at-home orders, recent vaginal sex declined from 96.4% to 47.8% (p <0.0001), reports of multiple female sex partners declined from 45.0% to 14.4% (p <0.0001), and sexual abstinence increased from 3.6% to 38.7% (p <0.0001). Among those who did have vaginal sex, condomless sex rates did not change between enrollment in Check it and the sub-study (64.5% vs. 67.9%, p=0.68). During stay-at-home orders oral sex, virtual sex, and pornography viewing were 40.5% , 42.3%, and 76.6%, respectively . Some (17.1 %) acquired a new sex partner during stay-at-home orders and 44.1% left their home to meet a partner for sex . Only 27.9% had seen information about safe sex during the pandemic . Income was diminished for 62.2% and 23.4% moved away from New Orleans when stay-at-home orders were enacted .
CONCLUSION: While there was an overall reduction in physical sex, half of participants reported physical sex, with many leaving their home to have sex during stay-at-home orders and many not using condoms . Others adopted sexual abstinence, increased virtual sex, and/or pornography viewing which may have protected them from both STIs and COVID-19 . Key words: COVID-19, sexual behavior, African American, young men.