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Sexual activity among HIV-seropositive gay men seeking treatment for depression.
Wagner GJ; Rabkin JG; Rabkin R; Department of Psychiatry, New York State
April 30, 1994
J Clin Psychiatry. 1993 Dec;54(12):470-5. Unique Identifier : AIDSLINE

BACKGROUND: With no cure or vaccine for AIDS expected in the near future, researchers have tried to locate predictors of high-risk sexual activity and develop interventions that emphasize primary prevention and encouragement of safe sex. This study examines the roles of depression, feelings of hopelessness, relationship status, and illness stage in mediating sexual activity among 85 HIV-seropositive (HIV+) gay men seeking psychiatric treatment for clinical depression. METHOD: Subjects were participants in a randomized, double-blind, placebo trial of imipramine. A self-report was used to assess sexual activity during the month prior to each assessment. RESULTS: Before and after initiation of treatment, a substantial proportion of these men were sexually abstinent and the vast majority of those who were sexually active denied practicing unprotected anal intercourse. Sexual abstinence was found to be associated with feelings of hopelessness (t = 2.8, p < .01), diagnosis of AIDS (chi 2 = 11.3, p < .01), and lower CD4 count (t = -2.6, p = .01). CONCLUSION: The sexual activity of this sample was characterized by caution or abstinence rather than promiscuity and recklessness. Severity and alleviation of depression were not associated with sexual abstinence. The possible ramifications of sexual abstinence on the mental health and quality of life of HIV+ gay men are briefly discussed.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/DIAGNOSIS/PSYCHOLOGY Adult CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes Depressive Disorder/DIAGNOSIS/*DRUG THERAPY/PSYCHOLOGY Double-Blind Method *Homosexuality Human HIV Seropositivity/BLOOD/*PSYCHOLOGY Imipramine/THERAPEUTIC USE Leukocyte Count Male Placebos Quality of Life Risk Factors Severity of Illness Index Sex Behavior/*STATISTICS & NUMER DATA Sexual Abstinence Stress, Psychological/DIAGNOSIS/PSYCHOLOGY Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S. CLINICAL TRIAL JOURNAL ARTICLE RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL