Prevalence and correlates of sexual behavior and risk management among HIV-positive adults over 50.

Published: October 1, 2010


BACKGROUND: This study examined the prevalence and correlates of sexual behavior, sexual risk, and behavioral risk reduction strategies among a diverse sample of HIV-positive adults over age 50.

METHODS: Individual surveys were conducted with 914 HIV-positive adults age 50 and over (640 male, 264 female, 10 transgender) living in New York City.

RESULTS: Over half the sample reported sexual activity in the past 3 months, and one-third of sexually active participants reported unprotected anal or vaginal sex in that time period. Sexually active participants were more likely to be younger and male, but did not differ on physical health status. Participants reported a range of risk-management strategies, including 100% condom use (49% of sexually active participants), serosorting (17%), and strategic positioning (4%). The prevalence of strategies differed by gender/sexual identity subgroups. In multivariate modeling, unprotected sex was significantly associated with recent substance use and loneliness.

CONCLUSIONS: Older HIV-positive adults are sexually active, and engage in both high-risk and risk-management behaviors. Loneliness emerged as the dominant risk factor in this sample. Findings provide meaningful implications for HIV prevention interventions targeting this population.

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