Sexual (Dis)satisfaction and Its Contributors Among People Living with HIV Infection in Sweden

Lena Nilsson Schönnesson, Galit Zeluf, Diego Garcia-Huidobro, Michael W. Ross, Lars E. Eriksson, Anna Mia Ekström

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25 Scopus citations


Earlier research reports lower sexual satisfaction among people living with HIV (PLHIV) compared to HIV-negative persons. A number of psychosocial factors directly associated with sexual dissatisfaction have been identified. Little is known about sexual satisfaction and their contributors among PLHIV in Sweden. The aim of this study was to examine direct and indirect effects of variables within sociodemographic, clinical HIV-related, psychological, and sexual domains on sexual (dis)satisfaction among PLHIV in Sweden. Data for this study were derived from a nationally representative, anonymous survey among PLHIV conducted in 2014 (n = 1096). Statistical analysis included four steps: descriptive analyses, identification of variables associated with sexual (dis)satisfaction, identification of variables associated with those contributors of sexual (dis)satisfaction, and a path model integrating all these analyses. A total of 49% of participants reported being sexually dissatisfied, and no significant differences were observed when non-heterosexual men, heterosexual men, and women were compared. Among women, a negative change in sex life after HIV diagnosis and distress with orgasmic difficulties was directly associated with sexual dissatisfaction. For men, hopelessness, high HIV stigma, sexual inactivity in the last 6 months, and a negative change in sex life after HIV diagnosis were directly associated with sexual dissatisfaction. Path analyses showed in both men and women significant indirect associations between not being involved in an intimate relationship, lower self-reported CD4 cell counts, and perceiving obligation to disclose HIV status to sexual partners as a barrier to look for a long-term partner and sexual dissatisfaction. Our results show that despite good treatment outcomes, the HIV diagnosis has a negative bearing on sexual satisfaction. The need for gender-tailored interventions and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2007-2026
Number of pages20
JournalArchives of sexual behavior
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments Weareverygratefultoallstudyparticipantsforcontri-buting to this study and the staff at each participating infectious disease out-patient clinic. The study was financially supported by the Public Health Agency of Sweden to professor Anna-Mia Ekström (Principal Investigator).

Funding Information:
This study was funded by The Public Health Agency of Sweden.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).


  • HIV
  • Sexual (dis)satisfaction
  • Sweden


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