AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 1119–1128

Intentional Abstinence Among Homeless and Unstably Housed Persons Living with HIV/AIDS


    • Division of HIV/AIDS PreventionCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Jun Zhang
    • Business Computer Applications
  • Richard J. Wolitski
    • Division of HIV/AIDS PreventionCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10461-008-9461-6

Cite this article as:
Courtenay-Quirk, C., Zhang, J. & Wolitski, R.J. AIDS Behav (2009) 13: 1119. doi:10.1007/s10461-008-9461-6


Some persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) engage in periods of sexual abstinence. Baseline data from a larger study of homeless/unstably housed PLWHA indicated that 20% (125/644) intentionally abstained from sex in the past 90 days. Reasons included: (1) ‘not interested’ (n = 78); (2) did not want to infect someone (n = 46); and (3) did not have a partner (n = 37). Abstinence was less likely among all who had a main partner. Among men who have sex with men (MSM), abstinence was less likely among those with a detectable viral load. It was more likely among heterosexual men who were experiencing current housing problems and who had at least a high school education. Among women, abstinence was less likely among African Americans and those whose social networks were more aware of their HIV status. Better understanding of motivations to abstain may improve how programs serving PLWHA address this issue.


HIV infectionSexual behaviorAbstinenceHomelessness

Copyright information

© GovernmentEmployee: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2008