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Arch Sex Behav. 2019 May;48(4):1015-1040. doi: 10.1007/s10508-019-1418-5. Epub 2019 Mar 19.

Love with HIV: A Latent Class Analysis of Sexual and Intimate Relationship Experiences Among Women Living with HIV in Canada.

Author information

1
Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Blusson Hall Room 10522, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada.
2
Epidemiology and Population Health, British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
3
Kirby Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
4
School of Social Work, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
5
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
6
Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
7
ViVA, Positive Living Society of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
8
Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD), Department of Global Health, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
9
Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.
10
Division of Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
11
Oak Tree Clinic, British Columbia Women's Hospital and Health Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
12
Chronic Viral Illness Service, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada.
13
Department of Family Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.
14
Department of Public Health and Policy, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.
15
Women's College Research Institute, Women's College Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.
16
Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
17
Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Blusson Hall Room 10522, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada. kangela@sfu.ca.

Abstract

Love remains hidden in HIV research in favor of a focus on risk. Among 1424 women living with HIV in Canada, we explored (1) whether eight facets of sex and intimacy (marital status, sexual activity, physical intimacy, emotional closeness, power equity, sexual exclusivity, relationship duration, and couple HIV serostatus) may coalesce into distinct relationship types, and (2) how these relationship types may be linked to love as well as various social, psychological, and structural factors. Five latent classes were identified: no relationship (46.5%), relationships without sex (8.6%), and three types of sexual relationships-short term (15.4%), long term/unhappy (6.4%), and long term/happy (23.2%, characterized by equitable power, high levels of physical and emotional closeness, and mainly HIV-negative partners). While women in long-term/happy relationships were most likely to report feeling love for and wanted by someone "all of the time," love was not exclusive to sexual or romantic partners and a sizeable proportion of women reported affection across latent classes. Factors independently associated with latent class membership included age, children living at home, sexism/genderism, income, sex work, violence, trauma, depression, HIV treatment, awareness of treatment's prevention benefits, and HIV-related stigma. Findings reveal the diversity of women's experiences with respect to love, sex, and relationships and draw attention to the sociostructural factors shaping intimate partnering in the context of HIV. A nuanced focus on promoting healthy relationships and supportive social environments may offer a more comprehensive approach to supporting women's overall sexual health and well-being than programs focused solely on sexual risk reduction.

KEYWORDS:

Feminism; HIV; Love; Power; Relationships; Sex; Women

PMID:
30891711
DOI:
10.1007/s10508-019-1418-5

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