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Sexual behaviour, condom use, and disclosure of HIV status in HIV infected heterosexual individuals attending an inner London HIV clinic

Abstract

Background: The National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV for England (2001) emphasised the role of HIV services in reducing secondary transmission of HIV through prevention work with HIV infected people.

Objective: To determine the sexual behaviour, condom use, and disclosure of HIV status of HIV infected heterosexuals attending an inner London HIV clinic.

Design: Cross sectional questionnaire study of heterosexual HIV infected individuals attending an HIV outpatient clinic.

Methods: We collected demographic data for all respondents and sexual behaviour data for those sexually active over the past year using a self administered questionnaire. Viral load and CD4 count for responders and age, sex, ethnicity, viral load, and CD4 count for non-responders were obtained from the clinic database.

Results: The response rate was 47.3% (n = 142). 100 participants reported being sexually active in the past year, of whom 73% used condoms when they last had vaginal sex. Knowledge of partner’s HIV status was the only variable significantly associated with the participant disclosing their HIV status to their partner (p<0.001). In those who had disclosed their status, only knowledge of partner’s HIV status was significantly associated with condom use (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: Issues relating to non-disclosure and partner notification in HIV infected heterosexuals will need to be better understood to improve sexual health in this group and to reduce onward transmission of HIV.

  • HAART, highly active antiretroviral treatment
  • VL, viral loads
  • heterosexual transmission
  • sexual behaviour
  • HIV
  • UK
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