As a result of the success of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in dramatically decreasing morbidity and mortality due to HIV, many HIV-infected individuals are now living longer, healthier, and more sexually active lives. However, unprotected sex by people living with HIV is an area of concern because of the risk of transmission to sero-discordant partners and reinfection with new, drug-resistant viral strains. There is evidence to suggest that some sero-positive individuals continue to engage in unprotected sex that places others at risk for infection and places themselves at risk for contracting secondary infections. To learn more about the impact of ART on sexual risk behavior in a developing country setting, researchers from the Horizons Program and the International Center for Reproductive Health followed a cohort of HIV-positive individuals receiving ART for 12 months in Mombasa, Kenya. The study revealed no increase in unsafe sex. However, there remained a risk of HIV transmission as a result of unprotected sex with an HIV-negative or unknown status partner. As indicated in this brief, safer-sex counseling needs special emphasis in ART programs.
Luchters, Stanley, Avina Sarna, Scott Geibel, Matthew F. Chersich, Paul Munyao, Susan Kaai, Kishorchandra N. Mandaliya, Naomi Rutenberg, and Marleen Temmerman. 2007. "Sexual risk behaviors of HIV-positive persons receiving ART in Mombasa, Kenya: Longitudinal study findings," Horizons Research Summary. Nairobi: Population Council.