Use of and adherence to antiretroviral therapy is associated with decreased sexual risk behavior in HIV clinic patients

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2005 Jun 1;39(2):211-8.


Previous research suggested that the availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) was associated with increased risky sexual behavior. This study examined the relationship between unprotected anal or vaginal sex (UAV) and ART use and adherence in a cross-sectional survey conducted in 874 randomly selected, sexually active patients at 6 public HIV clinics in California. Patients completed a standardized interview in 1998-1999 regarding HIV history, sexual behavior, illicit drug use, and ART use and adherence. Thirty-four percent reported UAV, defined as anal or vaginal sex without a condom within the past 3 months. Of 79% on ART, 26% reported <95% adherence. Decreased odds for UAV were found for both ART use, odds ratio (OR) 0.5 (95% CI 0.4-0.7, P < 0.001) and adherence to ART of > or = 95%, OR 0.6 (95% CI 0.4-0.8, P < 0.001). These relationships persisted in most stratified analysis for both ART use and adherence but in multivariate analysis only for ART use. An undetectable HIV RNA was associated with decreased odds of UAV, OR 0.6 (95% CI 0.5-0.8, P < 0.001). Contrary to expectations, use of and adherence to ART and their consequent suppression of HIV were associated with a decreased prevalence of self-reported risky sexual behavior.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • California
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Health Behavior
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Racial Groups
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Safe Sex / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior


  • Anti-HIV Agents