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Original Article
Behavioral Predictors Associated With COVID-19 Vaccination and Infection Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in Korea
Minsoo Jung
J Prev Med Public Health. 2024;57(1):28-36.   Published online November 27, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.23.381
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Objectives
This study investigated the impact of socioeconomic factors and sexual orientation-related attributes on the rates of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination and infection among men who have sex with men (MSM).
Methods
A web-based survey, supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea, was conducted among paying members of the leading online portal for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) community in Korea. The study participants were MSM living in Korea (n=942). COVID-19 vaccination and infection were considered dependent variables, while sexual orientation-related characteristics and adherence to non-pharmacological intervention (NPI) practices served as primary independent variables. To ensure analytical precision, nested logistic regression analyses were employed. These were further refined by dividing respondents into 4 categories based on sexual orientation and disclosure (or “coming-out”) status.
Results
Among MSM, no definitive association was found between COVID-19 vaccination status and factors such as socioeconomic or sexual orientation-related attributes (with the latter including human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] status, sexual orientation, and disclosure experience). However, key determinants influencing COVID-19 infection were identified. Notably, people living with HIV (PLWH) exhibited a statistically significant predisposition towards COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, greater adherence to NPI practices among MSM corresponded to a lower likelihood of COVID-19 infection.
Conclusions
This study underscores the high susceptibility to COVID-19 among PLWH within the LGBTQ+ community relative to their healthy MSM counterparts. Consequently, it is crucial to advocate for tailored preventive strategies, including robust NPIs, to protect these at-risk groups. Such measures are essential in reducing the disparities that may emerge in a post–COVID-19 environment.
Summary
Korean summary
한국에서 남성 동성애자의 코로나-19 예방접종과 그들의 사회경제적 지위 또는 성적 지향과 관련된 요인 사이에는 명확한 연관성이 없었지만, HIV에 감염된 남성 동성애자는 코로나-19의 감염 위험이 유의미하게 높았다. 또한, 남성 동성애자의 비약물적 중재 실천율이 높을수록 그들의 코로나-19 감염 가능성은 감소하는 경향이 있었다. 이 연구는 LGBTQ+ 커뮤니티 내의 HIV 양성 동성애자와 같은 취약한 집단을 보호하고 포스트 코로나-19 환경에서 성 소수자 간의 건강 격차를 줄이기 위한 강력한 맞춤형 예방 전략의 필요성을 강조한다.
Key Message
While there were no clear associations between COVID-19 vaccination and socioeconomic or sexual orientation-related factors among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Korea, individuals living with HIV (PLWH) had a significantly higher risk of COVID-19 infection. Additionally, greater adherence to non-pharmacological intervention (NPI) practices was linked to a reduced likelihood of COVID-19 infection among MSM. This study emphasizes the need for tailored preventive strategies, including robust NPIs, to protect at-risk groups like PLWH within the LGBTQ+ community and reduce health disparities in a post-COVID-19 environment.

JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health