The experience of relapse to unsafe sexual behavior among HIV-positive, heterosexual, minority men

Appl Nurs Res. 1999 May;12(2):91-100. doi: 10.1016/s0897-1897(99)80372-3.


The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the phenomenon of relapse to unsafe sexual behavior in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive, heterosexual, minority men. In-depth interviews were conducted by using a purposive sample of 18 HIV-positive, heterosexual, minority men who were recruited from an outpatient acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) clinic in upstate New York and a community-based HIV/AIDS service organization in New York City. All participants expressed concern about the seriousness and health threat of unsafe sexual behaviors. The perceived benefits and barriers to unsafe sexual practices were identified. Content analysis revealed the following themes related to relapse to unsafe sexual behavior: drug and alcohol use, state of mind, "looking good" and "helping" fallacies, male-female relationship issues, influence of friends, weighing the risks, sexual preparation, uncontrollable sexual urges, and the symbolic meaning of condoms. Clinical implications related to health assessment, interventions, and health education and prevention programs for HIV-positive heterosexual, minority men and their sexual partners are presented.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • HIV Seropositivity / ethnology
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Men / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • New York
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / ethnology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires