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PeerJ. 2016 Nov 22;4:e2726. eCollection 2016.

A qualitative view of the HIV epidemic in coastal Ecuador.

Author information

Yale College , New Haven , CT , United States.
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Yale School of Public Health , New Haven , CT , United States.
Department of Ethics, Politics and Economics, Yale University , New Haven , CT , United States.
FundaciĆ³n VIHDA , Guayaquil , Ecuador.
Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS and the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Disease, Yale School of Public Health , New Haven , CT , United States.


In 2013 approximately 37,000 people were living with HIV in Ecuador (prevalence 0.4%), representing a generalized epidemic where most new infections arise from sexual interactions in the general population. Studies that examine attitudes towards people living with HIV (PLWH), individual risk perception of acquiring HIV amongst Ecuadorians, and the ways in which levels of risk perception may affect risk behaviors are lacking. This qualitative study aimed to fill this gap in the literature by investigating these issues in the rural, coastal community of Manglaralto, Ecuador, which has among the highest incidence of HIV in Ecuador. We conducted interviews with 15 patients at Manglaralto Hospital. Analysis of interview transcripts revealed widespread negative attitudes towards PLWH, prevalent risk behaviors such as multiple sex partners and lack of condom use, and low individual risk-perception of contracting HIV. These findings underscore the need for increased efforts to prevent further growth of the HIV epidemic in Ecuador.


Ecuador; Global health; HIV attitudes; HIV risk behavior; HIV risk perception; HIV/AIDS; Latin America; Public health; Qualitative; Risk behavior

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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