Sexual risk behaviors of patients with HIV/AIDS over the course of antiretroviral treatment in Northern Vietnam

Thuc Minh Thi Vu, Victoria L. Boggiano, Bach Xuan Tran, Long Hoang Nguyen, Tung Thanh Tran, Carl A. Latkin, Cyrus S.H. Ho, Roger C.M. Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Antiretroviral therapy (ART) improves the health and well-being of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, PLWH), and reduces their risk of transmitting the virus to sexual partners. However, patterns of sexual risk behavior among HIV-positive patients taking ART in Vietnam remain largely unknown. In this study, we sought to examine sexual risk behaviors and their associated factors among HIV-positive patients receiving ART in northern Vietnam. The socio-demographic characteristics, ART use, health status, and sexual behaviors of 1133 patients taking ART in the Hanoi and Nam Dinh provinces were explored through face-to-face interviews. There were 63.5% of patients who had one sex partner, while 3.6% and 5.6% of patients had sexual intercourse with casual partners or sex workers, respectively, in the previous 12 months. Most participants tended to use condoms more often with commercial sex partners (90.2%) and intimate partners (79.7%), and less often with casual partners (60.9%). Higher age (odds ratio, OR = 1.0; 95% CIs = 1.0, 1.1) or suffering pain/discomfort (OR = 1.7; 95% CIs = 1.2, 2.4) were factors more likely to be associated with multiple sex partners. Patients who were self-employed were more likely to have sexual intercourse with casual partners/sex workers (OR = 2.1; 95% CIs = 1.1, 4.0). Meanwhile, a higher score on the EuroQol visual analog scale (EQ-VAS), an unknown HIV stage, and a longer duration of ART were adversely associated with not using condoms with casual partners/sex workers. Patients with longer durations of ART had a lower likelihood of not using a condom with casual partners/sex workers (OR = 0.5; 95% CIs = 0.3, 0.8). Our study underscored a relatively high rate of unsafe sexual behaviors among HIV-positive patients. Continuing to improve the physical and psychological well-being of HIV-positive patients in Vietnam is important in reducing the spread of HIV via risky sexual behaviors. In addition, safe-sex education should be provided to older people, and to those who are self-employed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1106
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Antiretroviral treatment
  • HIV
  • Risk
  • Sexual behaviors
  • Vietnam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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