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Prevalence and determinants of sexual risk behavior in male couples of mixed HIV status.




 

Int Conf AIDS. 1996 Jul 7-12;11(1):176 (abstract no. Mo.D.1711). Unique

Objectives: To assess prevalence and determinants of sexual risk behavior in male couples of mixed (serodiscordant) HIV status. Methods: We conducted in-depth semi-structured (individual and couple) interviews and self-report assessments with 75 couples N=150 men) to measure sex behavior, psychological functioning, and couple functioning. Mean age of participants was 36 years sd=8 yrs; range=22-66 yrs); median income was $32,500; 63% were Caucasian, 20% Latino and 16% African American. Forty seven per cent of HIV + men had CD4+ cells less than 200. Mean length of relationship was 52 months (range=4mos.-15 yrs.); 48% knew each others HIV status prior to "commitment;" 23% were registered as domestic partners. Results: Ninety-one percent (68) of the couples reported unprotected oral sex during the past year; in 87% of these 68 couples, the HIV - partner was receptive on some of these occasions. Forty-one percent (31) reported unprotected anal sex during the past year; in 36% of these couples, the HIV - partner was receptive on some of these occasions. While only one couple reported that the HIV + partner had ejaculated into the HIV - partner's rectum without the use of a condom, the majority of both HIV - and HIV + members of the couples (87% and 81%, respectively) believed that the HIV - partner was at risk for HIV transmission. Reasons given for engaging in sexual risk behavior included lack of communication about HIV or safer sex, desire for sexual pleasure and increased intimacy, and a sense of invincibility associated with a long-term and intimate relationship. Other variables associated with risk behavior included risk perception, health locus of control, dyadic consensus, and dyadic satisfaction. Conclusions: Significant levels of sexual risk behavior occurs in intimate relationships with a known and obvious risk for HIV transmission. Both individual and couple level factors (including affective variables) must be addressed in evolving prevention strategies aimed at long-term maintenance of safer sex behavior. These findings also highlight the need to intervene with couples to improve couple functioning, sexual satisfaction, and communication in order to reduce sexual risk behavior without the loss of emotional intimacy.

*Homosexuality, Male *Sex Behavior



 




Information in this article was accurate in January 30, 1997. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.