Objective: Recent research has demonstrated significant increases in risk behaviors associated with HAART (Highly-active Anti-retroviral Therapy). This study identifies correlates of beliefs about HIV risk associated with HAART in Long Beach, CA. Methods: Between June 1998 and January 1999, 106 gay and bisexual-identified men were given an open-ended interview about their beliefs and behaviors concerning HIV and HAART. The participants ranged in age from 19-57 years old (M=33.99, SD=17.35). Forty one percent used drugs in addition to alcohol or marijuana; 48% were HIV positive. Results: When asked to compare old treatments versus HAART, 83% believed HAART is an improved treatment method, 2% believed there was no difference between HAART and older therapies, 15% did not know. When asked whether HAART protected HIV-positive individuals from passing the virus on to others, 80% felt that HAART did not eliminate transmission risks, 10% believed that HAART reduced the risk of transmission, and 10% were unsure. Change in risk behavior in the past year was related to age (reduced risk: M=31.59, SD=6.31; no change: M=36.06, SD=8.04; increased risk: M=36.2, SD=6.83) F2,95=4.72, p=.011; reduced risk vs. no change: Tukey HSD p<.05. Conclusions: Although the large majority of men believed that HAART is an improved treatment for HIV, most did not believe that HAART reduces transmission of the virus. In addition, age appeared to be related to changes in risk behavior during the past year, with older men less likely to have reduced their risks.
Learning Objectives: Participants in this session will recognize relationships between age, drug use, and HIV status on perceived HIV risk related to HAART among gay and bisexual men who have sex with men.
Keywords: HIV Risk Behavior, Antiretroviral Combination Therapy
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
Disclosure not received
Relationship: Not Received.
The 129th Annual Meeting of APHA