Objectives: To describe changes in sexual behavior and condom use among male heterosexual clients at two public sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics in Pune, after exposure to HIV testing, counseling, and condom promotion.
Design: From 13 May 1993 to 11 April 1997, 6819 heterosexual men were screened for HIV infection as part of the HIV Network for Prevention Trials study. A total of 1628 HIV-seronegative men agreed to return at 3-month intervals for repeated HIV counseling and testing. Counseling at each visit focused on reinforcing messages of monogamy, condom use with sexual partners, and provision of government-provided condoms.
Methods: Data were collected at baseline and at subsequent 3-month intervals, on demographics, previous STD diagnoses, medical history, sexual behavior, knowledge of HIV/AIDS, and practices related to the prevention of HIV. STD were assessed through physical examination and specimen collection, and blood was drawn for HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibody testing.
Results: The level of consistent condom use with sex workers increased proportionately with follow-up time: at 6 months men were 2.8 times more likely to consistently use condoms (P < 0.001), at 18 months they were 3.6 times more likely (P < 0.001), and after 24 months they were 4.7 times more likely to be using condoms every time. The risk of HIV seroconversion in men was lowest for those who reported 'always' using condoms (adjusted relative risk, 0.68; P = 0.42; HIV incidence, 4.0) compared with those who reported 'never' using a condom (adjusted relative risk, 2.94; P < 0.001; HIV incidence, 14.0).
Conclusion: Ongoing counseling and testing was positively associated with risk-reduction behaviors amongst a large proportion of men recruited for this study.