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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59575. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059575. Epub 2013 Mar 18.

Changes in sexual behaviors among HIV-infected individuals after their HIV diagnosis in a rural prefecture of Eastern China.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.



To describe changes in sexual behaviors among HIV-infected individuals after their HIV diagnosis.


All HIV-infected individuals diagnosed by the end of 2009 in Taizhou Prefecture were invited to participate in this 12-month prospective study. Assessments including the total number and types of sexual contacts, and condom use details for up to their most familiar eight sexual contacts were collected both at enrollment and 12-month follow-up.


262 HIV-infected individuals were eligible for analysis. The total number of sexual contacts reported by participants was 4,017, 1,496 and 356 during the 12- month period prior to HIV diagnosis (T1), the 12-month period prior to the baseline survey (T2), and the 12-month follow-up period (T3), respectively. The difference in the number of sexual contacts between T2 and T1 was -5 in median (IQR -1, -14), and the difference between T3 and T2 was 0 in median (IQR: 0, -6). A larger proportion of spousal or long-term heterosexual contact was reported from T1(27.7%) to T2(42.5%) to T3(76.1%), whereas a smaller proportion of commercial heterosexual contacts was reported from T1 (48.6%) to T2 (33.2%) to T3 (7.0%) as well as a smaller proportion of non-commercial casual homosexual contacts was reported from T2 (8.4%) to T3 (3.8%).The proportion of consistent condom use increased significantly from T1 (9.3%) to T2 (35.3%) to T3 (91.5%).


Sexual behaviors did not change in a uniform manner for the participants in our study. Sexual behaviors and sexual networks vis-à-vis HIV diagnosis and follow-up were associated with the participant's characteristics and HIV infection and treatment status. The overall lesson is that individuals who are unaware of their HIV infection are the main drivers of secondary transmission. Early identification of HIV infection and access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) are both key strategies to the control and prevention.

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