Background This study describes psychosocial, risk behaviour and lifestyle features of HIV/AIDS women in Bayamón, PR. It also compares the psychosocial, behavioural and lifestyle profile changes of this cohort according to their entry year to the registry (2000–2010).
Methods Baseline data was analysed from a prospective survey of HIV/AIDS-infected women reported to the HIV Central Registry at the Universidad Central del Caribe, RCMI Program from 2000 to 2010. The study group was composed of 499 adult women, with AIDS or HIV infection reported upon arrival at the University Hospital Ramon Ruiz Arnau or the Bayamon Regional Immunology Clinic. Statistical analysis included frequencies, percentages, Chi-square, Chi Square for linear trend and Fisher Exact test.
Results A large proportion of women were under 46 years (71.4%). Most reported not having graduate studies (98.8%), being unemployed (70.9%), not having a partner in the last year (57.0%) and having children (88.0%). The most frequent sexual risk behaviour was heterosexual activity (98.8%), where 71.3% reported heterosexual activity in the last year and 14.4% reported prostitution activity. Risky lifestyles reported by women included: smoking tobacco (64.7%), use of alcohol (38.3%), use of psychoactive substances (36.3%) and intravenous drug usage (IVDU) (36.3%). Most frequent psychosocial factors reported were: episodes of depression (82.2%), episodes of impulsivity (55.4%), isolation (44.6%), suicide attempt (23.7%), time served in prison (20.3%), voluntary miscarriage (17.7%) and having been sexually assaulted (7.1%). An increasing linear trend (p < 0.05) was observed among proportions of women that reported using psychoactive substances, attempting suicide and having been sexually assaulted.
Conclusions Women reported a wide spectrum of risky psychosocial, behavioural and lifestyle activities. Increasing changes among these were observed over the last decade. This effort was made possible by NIH grant number 8G12MD007583 and 8U54MD007587 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Heath Disparities.
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