Predictors of high-risk sexual behavior among people living with HIV/AIDS

Thom Reilly, Grace Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Several recent studies have found that a significant number of HIV+ individuals are engaging in unsafe sexual practices. This study was conducted to explore the correlates of high-risk sex among a sample of 360 HIV+ adults recruited from outpatient medical care facilities. The study showed that 34% of all respondents reported at least 1 occasion of unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse in the previous 6 months. Consistent with other research, there were multiple correlates of high-risk sex: lower income, an elevated number of sexual partners, negative attitudes about condoms, lack of risk avoidance strategies, and recreational and intravenous drug use prior to sex. However, contrary to other research, no association was found between low self-esteem, depression/anxiety, or the use of alcohol with unprotected sex. Unlike most studies that have focused exclusively on gay and bisexual men, this study included an additional sample of women and poorer, ethnically diverse individuals. Although there were some gender and ethnic differences, neither gender nor ethnicity moderated any of the significant relationships between psychosocial variables and sexual behavior, suggesting the commonality of issues confronting people living with HIV/AIDS in maintaining safer sex practices. Implications for designing interventions for HIV+ persons are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-217
Number of pages13
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Behavior change
  • HIV+ men and women
  • Intervention
  • Risk behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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