Risky Behaviours among Young People Living with HIV Attending Care and Treatment Clinics in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania: Implications for Prevention with a Positive Approach

November 2013 - Behavioral Prevention

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Mhalu, A., Leyna, G.H., and Mmbaga, E.J. Journal of the International AIDS Society (October 2013), Vol. 16 No 1., pp. 17342.

The authors conducted a cross-sectional study to describe common HIV risk behaviors among 282 youth living with HIV (ages 15-24; 73 percent female) at eight urban care and treatment sites in Tanzania. The prevalence of unprotected sex was 40 percent among males and 37.5 percent among females. Approximately 16 and 11 percent of females and males, respectively, reported engaging in multiple sexual partnerships. Knowledge about sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention and transmission was low overall, but knowledge about STI symptoms and complications was relatively high. The majority reported engaging in risk behaviors with partners of unknown HIV status, and younger respondents (ages 15-19) were three times more likely than older youth to engage in unprotected sex. Respondents with family support reported having fewer sexual partners (0-1) compared to those without family support (87 versus 75 percent). Respondents who were using antiretroviral therapy (ART) were significantly less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, including multiple sexual partners, compared to those not on ART. Those who did not drink alcohol were 60 percent less likely to report unprotected sex. The authors advocated for prevention with a positive approach in HIV care to address STI knowledge gaps and target alcohol use and other risky behaviors.

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