Promoting Conversations About COVID-19 Precautions During Sexual Encounters

Presenter: Eliza Fillo

Research Category: Health Sciences
College: College of Arts Media & Design
Major(s): Communication Studies
Graduation Date: 2021
Additional Authors: Ariana Matos, Courtney Kearns

The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional barriers and risk-factors surrounding sexual interaction, particularly among the pervasive ÒhookupÓ culture present on college campuses.  This campaign seeks to fill the gaps in communication and to normalize interpersonal safe sex conversations among Northeastern undergraduate students. After gathering a problem analysis, a logic model was created to visualize the campaign objective. Once after, a focus group was conducted with seven individuals representative of the Northeastern undergraduate student population. The results of the focus group indicated that all seven participants agreed that COVID-19 caused  new issues surrounding hookup culture. Many noted the implication of friends and roommates in new and existing relationships. Most participants agreed that they would listen to messaging by trusted on-campus opinion leaders through private mediums (like emails, social media posts, zoom meetings and recordings). There was also a consensus among participants that unless someone stated they were COVID-19 positive or had been exposed, they would assume that their partner(s) were negative. Going forward our efforts will focus on using trusted opinion leaders as messengers and encouraging a dialogue between sexual partners. Following the focus group, participants’ insights and health behavior theory will drive the creation of a Qualtrics survey instrument filled out by an estimated 100 undergraduate students. These results will lead to the development of an informative and targeted campaign on COVID-19 safe sex conversations.