Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 304-312

First online:

The relation between beliefs about drug treatments for HIV and sexual risk behavior in gay and bisexual men

  • David M. HuebnerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Arizona State University Email author 
  • , Mary A. GerendAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Arizona State University

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This study examined the relation between gay and bisexual men’s (N = 575) beliefs about highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and other HIV-related beliefs, intentions, and risk behaviors. Confirmatory factor analysis verified three belief factors: the extent to which HAART improves health among HIV-infected individuals, decreases the risk of HIV transmission, and is complicated and of limited efficacy. Men who endorsed the belief that HAART decreases HIV transmission risk expressed lower intentions to use condoms for anal sex and were more likely to have engaged in unprotected anal intercourse with a casual partner. HIV-negative men who believed that HAART decreases transmission risk also perceived themselves to be more susceptible to HIV infection. Statistical evidence indicated that perceptions of susceptibility partially mediate the relation between sexual risk behavior and beliefs about HAART, suggesting that beliefs may result from, rather than cause, increased risk behavior.