This study aimed to examine the psychosexual concerns of persons living with HIV in order to develop new HIV prevention interventions. In all, 106 persons living with HIV / AIDS in Minnesota completed an anonymous survey that examined risk behavior at time of infection, prediagnosis, and postdiagnosis; psychosexual concerns related to infection of others and living with HIV; and prevention services desired by persons living with HIV. Most participants knew the person who infected them; half were infected by long-term partners, and 29% were infected outside Minnesota. Median time from infection to diagnosis was 3 years, and from diagnosis to receiving HIV clinical services, 1 month. Suicidal thoughts, shutting down sexually, safer sex, and unprotected sex with HIV-positive individuals were common postdiagnosis behaviors. Twelve common reasons why persons became infected were cited. Since diagnosis, 24% reported unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse with a non-HIV positive partner, 37% reported infecting others prior to being diagnosed, and 13% reported infecting others postdiagnosis. Persons at high risk of transmitting HIV to others were younger, more sexually active, more sexually compulsive, less disclosing of their HIV serostatus, more self-perceiving as contaminated, and aware that safe sex was problematic for them. HIV prevention planning needs to target HIV-positive persons; 8 specific recommendations are made.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments: The authors thank the Minnesota Health Commissioner's Task Force on HIV /SID Prevention for allowing the study to be undertaken in their name, the Services Council for graciously allowing us the opportunity to use a conference they funded to collect data for this needs assessment, and the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota for funding the study. Because this study involved asking sensitive questions about transmission to persons with HIV I AIDS, we wish to acknowledge and thank participants for their courage in answering these questions.