Sexual risk behavior among HIV-positive persons in Jamaica
Background: HIV/AIDS remains a global public health challenge, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Sexual risk behaviors among HIV-positive persons place their partners at risk for HIV transmission and other sexually transmitted infections. Stopping transmission acts among HIV-positive people is crucial in reversing HIV incidence.
Objective: This study aimed to assess the prevalence and predictors of sexual risk behaviors among HIV-positive individuals in clinical care in Northwestern Jamaica.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 118 (33 males and 85 females) HIV-positive individuals was used to assess demographic and health characteristics, HIV/AIDS knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs and sexual risk behaviors.
Results: About 12% of the study population stated that they had unprotected anal or vaginal sex without disclosing their HIV status. Participants who agreed that condoms reduce the risk of HIV transmission were 13.1 times more likely to use condoms during their last sexual encounters(95% CI: 2.1-79.0) than those who disagreed. About 75% of participants reported using a condom every time they had sexual intercourse in the past year, while 25% used condoms irregularly. Participants who had unprotected anal or vaginal sex without disclosing their status were less likely to have used condoms during the last sexual encounter (OR=0.1; 95% CI: 0.02-0.5).
Conclusion: The prevalence of unsafe sex remains high among sexually active people living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica. Study participants who engaged in unprotected sex without disclosing their HIV-positive status potentially place their partners at risk for HIV transmission and other sexually transmitted infections. The study findings highlight the need to promote safe sexual behaviors and a positive social environment for people living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica.
Keywords: HIV-seropositivity, sexual behavior, Jamaica, anti-retroviral therapy, condom use