To investigate the impact of non-lipodystrophy HAART-related side effects on unprotected sexual behaviours among HIV-infected drug users.Designand participants:
HAART-treated patients who reported having occasional partners during the follow-up period after HAART initiation were selected among patients of the MANIF 2000 cohort of HIV-infected drug users.Methods:
Visits where patients reported unsafe sexual behaviours with occasional partners were compared to visits where they reported safe sexual behaviours using a logistic model based on Generalized Estimating Equations.Results:
One-hundred and ninety-two HAART-treated patients reported occasional sexual partners at least once during follow-up, accounting for a total of 464 visits. Among these 192 patients, 134 (70%) declared at least once unsafe sexual behaviours with occasional partners. During follow-up, three or more HAART-related side effects were reported in 273 of the 464 visits. When comparing visits where patients reported unsafe sexual behaviours with occasional partners (n = 249) with those where they reported safe sexual behaviours (n = 215), experiencing three or more HAART-related side effects was significantly associated with unsafe sex after adjustment for cofactors such as injecting drug status, reporting more than two sexual partners and having sex more than once a week.Conclusions:
Perceived side effects play a role in determining unsafe sexual behaviours. HIV prevention interventions must consider the negative impact of HAART-related side effects on sexual risk-taking behaviours. Drug maintenance programs contribute to sexual risk reduction among drug injecting patients.