The global COVID-19 pandemic poses new challenges for communities built around certain sexual practices, some of which have responded by using their previous experiences of HIV. In this paper, we undertake an online ethnography of a popular Anglo-American barebackers’ forum to understand how HIV and COVID-19 converge and how these men negotiate COVID-19 risk by adapting previous sexual and disease prevention strategies. Barebackers, aka gay men who eroticise condomless anal intercourse, provide a relevant group to consider given their longstanding negotiation of HIV. We explore processes of responsibility, risk management, and pleasure during the COVID-19 pandemic. We suggest that their experiences of both the AIDS crisis and the current context of HIV frames their decisions around COVID-19. We focus on how responsibility and desire shape discussions of bathhouses and the survival of barebackers’ sexual practices during and after COVID-19.

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Garcia Iglesias, J. & Ledin, C. 2021, '‘Who cares if you’re poz right now?’: Barebackers, HIV and COVID-19', Sociology of Health & Illness, 43(9), pp. 1981-1995. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.13369

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Last updated: 06 July 2023
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