Decreased sexual risk behaviour after the diagnosis of HIV and initiation of antiretroviral treatment - a study of patients in Johannesburg

  • J Fougelberg
  • S Karlstrom
  • Y Veriava
  • P Ive
  • R Anderson


Objectives. An extended programme for free antiretroviral treatment (ART) of HIV was launched in South Africa in April 2004. It is essential to assess the effects on sexual risk behaviour. Design and setting. A questionnaire was distributed to patients on ART at Helen Joseph Hospital, Johannesburg, between 17 January and 22 February 2005. Results. The percentage of men who had sexual contacts outside their relationship decreased from 48% before HIV diagnosis to 11% after starting ART. Condom use with casual partners increased from 53% among the men and 46% among the women before the diagnosis of HIV to 87% and 81% respectively on ART. The majority of patients were tested for HIV because they presented with symptoms of illness. We noted no significant difference in disclosure rate after the start of ART. All participants were positive about the treatment and felt physically better. The majority of the patients experienced a better quality of life. Conclusions. The ART had an overall positive effect on health with no increase of sexual risk behaviour.

Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine Vol. 7 (4) 2006: pp. 12-14

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print ISSN: 1608-9693