Alcohol as a Correlate of Unprotected Sexual Behavior Among People Living with HIV/AIDS: Review and Meta-Analysis
OBJECTIVES To determine the prevalence of identified STIs and recognised symptoms of STIs and their association with health status, substance use, and sexual risk behaviour in a sample of HIV seropositive men and women. METHODS 223 men, 112 women, and five transsexual people living with HIV infection completed confidential surveys. Participants were recruited through community based services, community health clinics, and snowball (chain) recruitment techniques in Atlanta, GA, USA in December 1999. RESULTS We found that (263) 78% of participants had been sexually active in the previous 3 months. For the entire sample, 42 (12%) participants reported an STI in the past 3 months and 40 (11%) experienced symptoms of an STI without indicating a specific diagnosis in that time. Gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, and newly diagnosed herpes simplex virus (HSV) were identified at similar rates among men, whereas trichomonas, gonorrhoea, and newly diagnosed HSV occurred most often in women. STIs were associated with substance use in men and women, with "crack" cocaine users having the greatest likelihood of an STI relative to non-crack users. STIs were also associated with continued practice of sexual risk behaviours. CONCLUSIONS This sample of people living with HIV-AIDS reported high rates of diagnoses and symptoms of STIs. There were significant associations between STIs, substance use, and continued high risk sexual practices in men and women. These findings support the need for studies that confirm prevalence of STIs using clinical laboratory tests.