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AIDS Care. 2010 Jun;22(6):711-7. doi: 10.1080/09540120903373573.

Comparisons of sexual behaviors and STD prevalence among older and younger individuals with HIV infection.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, USA. <>


Knowledge of an HIV-infected individual's sexual behaviors and routine sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) testing greatly facilitates HIV prevention efforts, but current data in older individuals are lacking. This study was developed to compare sexual behaviors and STD prevalence between older HIV-infected individuals and their younger counterparts. We conducted a cross-sectional cohort study of HIV-infected individuals > or =18 years who completed an annual behavioral assessment. A total of 541 individuals completed the assessment. Analyses were performed to examine differences in sexual behaviors and STD prevalence between age groups: younger (18-35 years) (30%), middle-aged (36-49 years) (46%), and older (> or =50 years) (24%). Older individuals were most likely to be male and Caucasian with longest time since HIV diagnosis, greatest receipt of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), and highest rates of HIV RNA <50 copies/mL (all p<0.001). Reports of recent sexual activity decreased with age, younger (56%) vs. middle-aged (43%) vs. older (27%) (p<0.001). The median number of recent sex partners was one (range 1-25) and 68% overall reported using condoms consistently; these parameters did not differ by age group. STD prevalence was 8% (gonorrhea [9], chlamydia [7], and syphilis [20]) and was highest among younger individuals (younger [11%] vs. middle-aged [7%] vs. older [3%]). Our results demonstrated that with older age, sexual activity declines but inconsistent condom use remains commonly reported. Furthermore, STDs were identified among all age groups. This latter finding reinforces the need for secondary prevention efforts among all individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

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