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Cross-sectional comparative study of risky sexual behaviours among HIV-infected persons initiated and waiting to start antiretroviral therapy in rural Rakai, Uganda

11 Sep 2017


To compare risky sexual behaviours between HIV-positive persons initiated on antiretroviral therapy (ART) (ART-experienced) and persons waiting to start on ART (ART-naive) and assess predictors of risky sexual behaviours among HIV-infected patients in rural Rakai district, Uganda.

Study design

This is a cross-sectional study that used data from the Rakai Community Cohort Study (RCCS) database between 2013 and 2014. A structured questionnaire was used for data collection. We used stepwise logistic regression as an index to estimate the adjusted ORs for the association between risky sexual behaviours and ART treatment status.

Study setting

This study was conducted in Rakai district, located in south-western Uganda. The data for this study were extracted from the RCCS. RCCS is an open prospective cohort of approximately 15 000 consenting participants aged 15–49 years.


HIV-positive participants aged 18–49 years who had sex at least once a month with any partner prior to the start of the study.

Main outcome measures

Inconsistent/no condom use in the last 12 months, alcohol use at last sexual encounter, and two or more sexual partners.


ART-naive participants were more likely to report inconsistent condom use (OR=1.74, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.73) and more likely to drink alcohol at last sexual encounter (OR=1.65, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.46), compared with ART-experienced patients. ART treatment status (p<0.001) was a significant predictor of risky sexual behaviours. Both marital status (p=0.016) and occupation level (p=0.009) were positively associated with inconsistent condom use, while sex (p<0.001) correlated with alcohol use at last sexual encounter.


ART-naive participants were more likely to exhibit risky sexual behaviours than the ART-experienced participants. The intensity of risk reduction counselling should be increased for HIV-positive persons waiting to start ART but already in HIV care.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open