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Support Group Participation, HIV Viral Load and Sexual-risk Behavior

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Objective: To examine the impact of participation in community based support groups and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral load on sexual behavior among gay men. Methods: Using self-administered questionnaires, 46 seropositive support-group participants and 20 seropositive comparison subjects were asked about viral load and frequency of unprotected anal intercourse in 1996 and 1997 following the XI International Conference on AIDS. Results: Support group participants reported less unprotected receptive anal sex at follow-up than did comparison subjects. Overall, study participants with undetectable viral loads reported more unprotected anal intercourse at follow-up than did participants with detectable viral loads. Conclusion: Among HIV-seropositive gay men, knowledge of an undetectable viral load may contribute to high-risk sexual-risk behavior.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, HIV Mental Health, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA. 2: UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA. 3: Department of Veterans Affairs, Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Department of General Internal Medicine, Los Angeles, CA. 4: Santa Monica, CA. 5: HIV Incarcerated Services, Tarzana Treatment Center, Reseda, CA.

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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