Impact of Improved Treatments on Perceptions About HIV and Safer Sex Among Inner-City HIV-Infected Men and Women
- Cite this article as:
- Demmer, C. Journal of Community Health (2002) 27: 63. doi:10.1023/A:1013884310983
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Protease inhibitor combination therapies have significantly improved the health of many people with HIV/AIDS. Prior studies, consisting mainly of gay men, have indicated that these treatments have prompted reduced concern about HIV and an increase in high-risk behavior. This study assessed the impact of HIV treatment advances on HIV-infected individuals living in inner-city areas. A convenience sample was used (n = 196), consisting largely of heterosexual African-Americans and Hispanics. Almost the entire sample had heard of the latest HIV treatments, and 75% were currently on protease inhibitor regimens. One-third of the sample reported that AIDS was a less serious threat nowadays and that being HIV-positive was not a big deal. Fifteen percent of respondents believed that protease inhibitor combination therapies reduced the risk of HIV transmission, and 10% believed that these treatments reduced need for safer sex practices. As in previous studies of other populations, a significant percentage (23%) of respondents practiced safer sex less often since new HIV treatments arrived. HIV prevention programs need to focus more attention on HIV-infected individuals in inner city areas. Interventions for these individuals need to address changing attitudes and behaviors stemming from HIV treatment advances.