Behavioral changes associated with testing HIV-positive among sexually transmitted infection clinic patients in Cape Town, South Africa

Am J Public Health. 2010 Apr;100(4):714-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.162602. Epub 2010 Feb 18.


Objectives: We sought to examine behavioral risks and behavior changes associated with testing HIV-positive among sexually transmitted infection (STI) patients, in order to inform HIV- and STI-prevention interventions.

Methods: We performed a cohort study of 29 STI patients who seroconverted from HIV-negative to HIV-positive during 1 year of observation and 77 STI patients who persistently tested HIV-negative. Computerized behavioral interviews were collected at baseline and at 1 year, and STI clinic charts were abstracted over the same 1-year period.

Results: The STI patients who reported genital bleeding during sexual activity at baseline were significantly more likely to test HIV-positive. Reductions in number of sexual partners and rates of unprotected intercourse occurred for all STI clinic patients regardless of whether they tested HIV-positive.

Conclusions: Although risk reductions occurred, 5% of HIV-negative STI clinic patients subsequently tested HIV-positive over 1 year. Behavioral risk-reduction interventions are urgently needed for male and female STI clinic patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Safe Sex / psychology
  • Safe Sex / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Partners
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology