, Volume 83, Issue 4, pp 669-681
Date: 31 May 2006

Correlates of Unprotected Sex Among Adult Heterosexual Men Living with HIV

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Abstract

The correlates of unprotected sex among a sample of heterosexual men living with HIV (n = 121) were examined to determine whether patient characteristics can be used as a basis for tailoring safer sex counseling in the clinic setting. Potential correlates of self-reported unprotected oral sex (fellatio) and vaginal sex included participant demographics (e.g., age, ethnicity), disease status (CD4 counts, viral load, years since diagnosis), safer sex beliefs (e.g., condom attitudes), substance use, psychological characteristics (depressive symptoms, dispositional optimism and pessimism), and sex partner characteristics (main/casual partner, HIV status of partner, and duration of relationship). A series of logistic regression analyses were used to determine significant relationships. Correlates of reported levels of prior 3-month unprotected fellatio (24%) and vaginal (21%) sex were not associated with the type of relationship (main or casual) or perceived HIV serostatus of the partner (positive, negative, or unknown). Unprotected fellatio was positively associated with age and CD4 count and inversely associated with optimism and positive condom attitudes (all p's < 0.05). Unprotected vaginal sex was positively associated with duration of relationship and inversely associated with positive condom attitudes. Prevention efforts among sexually active adult heterosexual men living with HIV may benefit from focusing on improving attitudes towards condom use regardless of partner relationship status.

Milam, Richardson, Espinoza, and Stoyanoff are with the Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, 1441 Eastlake Avenue MS9175, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.