Journal Article

Frequency and Determinants of Unprotected Sex among HIV-Infected Persons: The Swiss HIV Cohort Study

Barbara Hasse, Bruno Ledergerber, Bernard Hirschel, Pietro Vernazza, Tracy R. Glass, Andre Jeannin, John-Marc Evison, Luigia Elzi, Matthias Cavassini, Enos Bernasconi, Dunja Nicca and Rainer Weber

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 51, issue 11, pages 1314-1322
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/656809
Frequency and Determinants of Unprotected Sex among HIV-Infected Persons: The Swiss HIV Cohort Study

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Background. Access to antiretroviral therapy may have changed condom use behavior. In January 2008, recommendations on condom use for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive persons were published in Switzerland, which allowed for unprotected sex under well-defined circumstances (“Swiss statement”). We studied the frequency, changes over time, and determinants of unprotected sex among HIV-positive persons.

Methods. Self-reported information on sexual preference, sexual partners, and condom use was collected at semi-annual visits in all participants of the prospective Swiss HIV Cohort Study from April 2007 through March 2009. Multivariable logistic regression models were fit using generalized estimating equations to investigate associations between characteristics of cohort participants and condom use.

Findings. A total of 7309 participants contributed to 21,978 visits. A total of 4291 persons (80%) reported sexual contacts with stable partners, 1646 (30%) with occasional partners, and 557 (10%) with stable and occasional partners. Of the study participants, 5838 (79.9%) of 7309 were receiving antiretroviral therapy, and of these, 4816 patients (82%) had a suppressed viral load. Condom use varied widely and differed by type of partner (visits with stable partners, 10,368 [80%] of 12,983; visits with occasional partners, 4300 [88%] of 4880) and by serostatus of stable partner (visits with HIV-negative partners, 7105 [89%] of 8174; visits with HIV-positive partners, 1453 [48%] of 2999). Participants were more likely to report unprotected sex with stable partners if they were receiving antiretroviral therapy, if HIV replication was suppressed, and after the publication of the “Swiss statement.” Noninjection drug use and moderate or severe alcohol use were associated with unprotected sex.

Conclusions. Antiretroviral treatment and plasma HIV RNA titers influence sexual behavior of HIV-positive persons. Noninjection illicit drug and alcohol use are important risk factors for unprotected sexual contacts.

Journal Article.  4472 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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