This study describes the sexual behavior of HIV-positive women within new versus more established relationships and determines whether beliefs about HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) impact these behaviors. The Women's Interagency HIV Study is a longitudinal cohort study of HIV among women in the United States. Sexually active HIV-positive women (N = 1,090) completed interviews on beliefs and behaviors at 6-month intervals. Data were analyzed for the period between April 2002 and March 2003. Of 1,517 sexual partners reported, 32% were newly acquired within the previous 6 months. As compared with more established sexual relationships, newer partnerships were characterized by greater condom use consistency (odds ratio = 1.8, 95% confidence interval = 1.4 -2.3). Holding beliefs that ART is protective for HIV transmission impacted the relationship between partner type and condom use. In established relationships, 63% reported consistent condom use if they believed that ART is not protective, whereas 54% reported consistent condom use if they believed that ART is protective. Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of ongoing support for sexual risk reduction among women with HIV-infection and for strategies that reduce the strength of relationships between ART beliefs and sexual risk behavior.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health