Sexual Behavior and Attitudes Toward Sex of Older Adults Living with HIV

Abstract

The number of older adults living with HIV (OALHIV) is increasing rapidly due to effective antiretroviral therapy. The current research describes sexual behavior, attitudes toward sex, and HIV transmission risk among OALHIV. Participants were HIV-infected persons aged 50 years and older enrolled from community hospitals in Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand. Of the 328 participants, 57.6% were women, and the average age was 58.8 years. The majority of participants (93.9%) had undetectable viral load. Most participants (77.1%) thought that it is ok/acceptable for PLHIV to have sex. About one-third of OALHIV participants were sexually active. Being male, younger, married, a previous smoker or a non-smoker, having a positive attitude toward sex, and not having a chronic health condition were independent predictors of having had sex in the last 12 months. Risk of HIV sexual transmission was likely low due to consistent condom use, undetectable viral load, and low instances of extramarital sex.

Resumen

El número de adultos mayores que viven con VIH (OALHIV) está aumentando rápidamente debido a la terapia antirretroviral efectiva. La investigación actual describe el comportamiento sexual, las actitudes hacia el sexo y el riesgo de transmisión del VIH entre los OALHIV. Los participantes eran personas infectadas por el VIH de 50 años o más inscritas en hospitales comunitarios en la provincia de Chiang Mai, norte de Tailandia. De los 328 participantes, el 57,6% eran mujeres, y la edad promedio fue de 58,8 años. La mayoría de los participantes (93,9%) tenían una carga viral indetectable. La mayoría de los participantes (77.1%) pensó que está bien / aceptable que las PVVIH tengan relaciones sexuales. Alrededor de un tercio de los participantes de OALHIV eran sexualmente activos. Ser hombre, joven, casado, fumador anterior o no fumador, tener una actitud positiva hacia el sexo y no tener una condición de salud crónica fueron predictores independientes de haber tenido relaciones sexuales en los últimos 12 meses. El riesgo de transmisión sexual del VIH probablemente fue bajo debido al uso constante del condón, la carga viral indetectable y los bajos casos de relaciones sexuales extramaritales.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the participants and health staff of the community hospital for their contributions to the study. The study was supported by the Chiang Mai University Center of Excellence in HIV/AIDS. We also thank the Visiting Professor program of Chiang Mai University for supporting the collaboration between Kyoto University and Chiang Mai University.

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Correspondence to Kriengkrai Srithanaviboonchai.

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Srithanaviboonchai, K., Sitthi, W., Musumari, P.M. et al. Sexual Behavior and Attitudes Toward Sex of Older Adults Living with HIV. AIDS Behav 24, 1825–1834 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-019-02756-6

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Keywords

  • Older adults living with HIV
  • Sex
  • Sexual risk behavior
  • Thailand