Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Sex Transm Infect. 2001 Apr;77(2):130-4.

Sexual behaviour of heterosexual individuals with HIV infection naive for antiretroviral therapy in Italy.

Author information

  • 1Centro di Riferimento AIDS, IRCCS "L Spallanzani," Roma, Italy.



Specific information about determinants of sexual behaviour of HIV infected heterosexuals, like injecting drug use (IDU), are essential to design interventions aimed at promoting safer sex practices.


We analysed data on sexual behaviour collected, between March 1997 and March 1999, through a self administered questionnaire among 1050 IDUs and 642 non-IDU heterosexuals enrolled in a prospective multicentre cohort study on the natural history of HIV infection.


Among non-IDU heterosexuals, more women (48.5%) than men (25.1%) (p<0.001) reported that they were infected by HIV positive regular partners whose HIV status they were not aware of. Among the 1119 heterosexual males, one fifth reported having had more than 25 sexual partners during their lifetime. Condom use in the last sexual intercourse was more common among heterosexual IDUs (64.9%) than among non-IDU heterosexual males (58.3%) (p=0.05). Heterosexual IDU males were more likely (66.7%) than non-IDU heterosexuals (50.6%) to have an HIV negative partner (p<0.001). Of the 573 heterosexual females studied, 10.2% reported having had more than 25 lifetime sex partners. This proportion was higher among heterosexual IDUs (18.8%) than among non-IDU heterosexuals (4.3%) (p<0.001). Nearly 50% of the women in both groups reported having used a condom in the last intercourse. Almost 57% of heterosexual IDUs had a current HIV negative partner, compared with 34.9% non-IDU heterosexuals (p<0.001). In both sexes, the findings from univariate analysis were confirmed by multiple logistic regression analysis.


This study identified some important differences, in both males and females, in sexual lifestyles according to injecting drug use (for example, in terms of HIV negative partners). This observation indicates the need to tailor HIV prevention messages according to history of injecting drug use.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk