Safe sex hiv risk

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Corresponding Author Eleonora C. Methods: We studied these issues in a group of women from Northern Portugal, together with their social, educational, and religious background.

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The women filled out several self-report questionnaires developed in the USA that have been adapted and validated for use in Portugal. They assess HIV knowledge, risk perception, and sexual risk behaviour.

: We documented good knowledge about HIV transmission and prevention, although there are still some myths; Thus, knowledge does not imply adequate preventive behaviour. Conclusion: These point to important intervention targets for campaigns to curb STD infections among young women.

In Europe, about 2. These cases were associated with sexual transmission in heterosexual couples In Portugal, a large percentage of those affected by sexually transmitted diseases STDs are women. Similarly, several measures have been taken to curb HIV infections, such as promoting safe sex and improving knowledge of HIV transmission, vulnerability to HIV, and HIV risk factors in partners, but only few studies have examined their effectiveness [ 5 ].

These interventions have been mainly educational and skill trainings. Epidemiological studies show that Portuguese women between the ages of 20 and 44 years are the fastest-growing group becoming infected with HIV [ 4 ]. The main mode of HIV transmission in this group is through unprotected heterosexual sex with infected partners [ 4 ]. HIV infection rates are declining in most age groups worldwide, but the infection rates among young adults are unchanged or increasing [ 6 ]. Young adults are at increased risk of HIV infection because of their high sex drive, high probability of spontaneous sexual encounters, and limited knowledge of HIV biology and of the factors indicating partner risk.

Young single women, in particular, are uniquely at risk in many respects [ 7 - 11 ]. They are less likely to use condoms and more likely to have multiple sexual partners and become infected with STDsand are less assertive when requesting and enforcing condom use [ 1213 ]. Furthermore, women might downplay their risk of HIV in order to avoid dealing with partner infidelity and risking alienating partners with safe-sex requests [ 1415 ].

Some studies show that even women who know they are at risk do not use condoms regularly [ 16 ]. Some institutions also ban contraceptives, indirectly promoting risky sexual practices, which prevents conception and preserves virginity but is more favourable to HIV transmission. Among Latin women, fertility plays a major role in both female identity and social acceptance, and this too makes condom use less likely. Similar to Afro-American and Hispanic women, Portuguese women tend to be more religious and to conform to traditional and conservative gender roles that prescribe submissiveness.

Safe sex hiv risk dynamics and skills are also important Safe sex hiv risk determining adherence to safe-sex practices. Lack of communication and negotiation between partners is a main predictor of STD risk among young adults. Studies have shown that condom use is less likely when sexual communication is poor [ 22 ]. Alcohol and substance abuse increase the HIV risk as well, since they make unsafe sexual behaviour more likely [ 6 ], especially among women who would otherwise practice safe sex [ 23 ].

Poor sexual negotiation skills, alcohol and drug abuse, multiple sexual partners, early sexual initiation, unprotected sex, and inconsistent condom use are sexual practices that put gregarious adolescents and young Safe sex hiv risk at an especially high risk of HIV infection and STDs [ 6 ]. Efforts to protect women from HIV and to Safe sex hiv risk health policies and screening services specifically for them require detailed information about their knowledge of HIV, their perception of HIV and STD risk factors, their sexual behaviour, and their STD risk Safe sex hiv risk, as well as about their attitudes towards HIV education and prevention and their adherence to safe-sex practices [ 24 ].

Although there is now solid general knowledge of the risk factors for STDs and HIV, there is a lack of knowledge that is specific to women, young women in particular [ 1 ]. In Portugal this knowledge is particularly needed in order to shape policy and prevention efforts, but generally the necessary research has not been carried out.

We consider the evaluation of variables included in social cognitive theory and in health belief models important for risk behaviour change with regard to HIV, such AIDS knowledge, perceived vulnerability, and sociodemographic factors, and they can also interfere with individual perceptions and affect behaviour in an indirect way [ 2526 ]. This paper aims to characterize the STD risk profile of young Portuguese women in order to help inform intervention goals and their implementation. The study also investigated the relationship between condom use and the social, educational, and religious background, which should also help orient and implement Safe sex hiv risk campaigns.

This research involved human participants, and for this reason informed consent was obtained. All clinical investigations were conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. Approval was obtained from the institutional review board at Minho University, and the participants provided written consent to participate in this study; the ethics committee approved this consent procedure, although the data were analysed anonymously.

The selection criteria were the following: 1 concern regarding a possible STD; 2 having had more than one sexual partner in the 6 months; 3 having had a partner who had had other sexual partners in the 6 months; or 4 having a partner known to have used intravenous drugs.

One percent of the women were married. A considerable part of them defined themselves as very religious The participants were recruited during a youth sexuality consultation. This free youth consultation is a collaboration between the Youth Institute and the Regional Health Centres. Women between 16 and 29 years old were considered if they had at least 4 years of education and were at risk of HIV as defined by the criteria above, which was verified during the recruitment procedure.

Participants younger than 18 years obtained parental permission. Upon informed and voluntary consent, the women answered the questionnaire package in a deated private area. The women filled out several self-report questionnaires developed in Anglo-Saxon countries that have been adapted and validated for use in Portugal. These questionnaires assess HIV knowledge, risk perception, and sexual risk behaviour.

The evaluated measures and their psychometric properties in this sample are described below. Safe-Sex Knowledge. This was assessed by 14 questions that were taken from the Public Health Service AIDS Information Survey [ 27 - 29 ] and subsequently translated, adapted, and validated for use in Portugal [ 30 ].

Self-Reported Sexual Risk Behaviour. Condom use items ask participants to report their sexual behaviour and condom use during oral, anal, and vaginal sex over the last 2 weeks, the last 2 months, and the last 6 months e. Additionally, the Safe sex hiv risk reported the of their partners over the past 2 weeks and over the past 2 and 6 months, as well as if — and how many times — they had traded sex for money or drugs during the same periods e.

Finally, the women also reported their condom use in the last 4 sexual acts, their intention to purchase condoms in the near future, and whether they had purchased condoms recently. Perceived Risk. Higher scores indicate greater sophistication [ 31 ]. Descriptive analyses of the demographic, sexual risk behaviour, safer-sex knowledge, and risk perception variables were performed.

Mean M and SD were used to describe continuous variables. Categorical variables were described as absolute frequencies and relative frequencies. The regarding self-reported sexual activity and safe-sex behaviour are presented in Tables 1 - 3. All women reported being sexually active, with Only In all, The rate of abstinence during 6 months was low 3. Condom use was inconsistent, with The reports of unsafe sex over the 2 weeks were consistent with those over the last 6 months, even though the lastmonth estimates tended to be lower for unprotected vaginal intercourse 26 vs.

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Regarding condom use in the last 4 sexual acts, nearly half of the women reported not having used condoms at all Regarding proactive condom procurement, However, Unsafe sexual behaviour in the 2 weeks, 2 months, and 6 months. Condom use during vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse in the 2 weeks, 2 months, and 6 months. The sociocultural profiles of women at the highest STD risk who should be targeted by STD prevention campaigns are described below.

We contrasted a women with higher education with those without higher education, b women who professed being practicing Catholics with those who did not, and c adult with adolescent women. Contrasts were made regarding safe-sex behaviour and knowledge, as well as regarding HIV knowledge and HIV risk management. We expected women with higher education to practice safe sex more frequently, since they should have better STD knowledge. We expected practicing Catholics to use condoms less, since Safe sex hiv risk religion restricts their use.

Also, we expected adults to practice safe sex more systematically, since a longer life experience and better-developed self-assurance should enable them to request and enforce condom use better. Since the exploratory analysis revealed a pervasive Safe sex hiv risk of normality, we used non-parametric ificance tests but did not attempt correcting for multiple testing.

Therefore, the presented statistical ificances have only a heuristic value. Week Reports. After subdividing the subjects according to their having or undergoing higher education or not, we looked for differences in unsafe-sex behaviour. Month Reports.

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There were no other differences. No other differences were found. It was generally good, with most women knowing that sharing used hypodermic needles entails a high HIV risk, although a ificant of the women did Safe sex hiv risk know about the transmission risk of sharing toilets and kitchen utensils, as well as from being coughed or sneezed at by HIV-infected people. Knowledge of HIV prevention was also good, with No further marked differences were found, and therefore the subjects with higher education had only slightly better knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention.

This shows that anti-HIV campaigns are failing to reach even better-educated women. No marked differences between the practicing and non-practicing catholic women were found with respect to knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention. This contrasts with the fact that the catholic women reported using condoms more frequently.

There were no additional differences. Note that these two subsamples are not identical to those created according to higher education: there were adult women The majority Most subjects Safe sex hiv risk that they were concerned about HIV, and Additionally, the participants reported that over the last 5 years, their partners had not used injectable drugs, had not been in prison, and had not had sex with men. No other variables showed any marked differences.

There were also no marked differences between the practicing and non-practicing catholic women or between the adults and adolescents. The above suggest the following risk profiles: non-practicing catholic women, adult women, and women with higher education appear to be at high risk, since they 1 use condoms less often and 2 engage more frequently in unsafe sex, and this despite their better knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention and — in the case of those with higher education — despite estimating their own risk of HIV exposure as being high.

Our are consistent with published findings. In our sample, we found several at-risk women who had been sexually active during the past 6 months and had often engaged in moderately risky sexual behaviour e. Additionally, we found good knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention e.

The personal risk was deemed to be low, but the HIV risk in the community was estimated to be high. Most participants did not consider their partners to be at risk, but nonetheless they reported discussing HIV with their partners. Most women reported serial monogamy, and very few reported having had more than one partner in the last 6 months. Full abstinence during the last 6 months was rare reported by 3. Our subjects reported having engaged in vaginal sex clearly more frequently The non-practicing catholic women and also those with higher education reported more unsafe sexual behaviour especially fellatio and anal sex and fewer safe-sex behaviours like condom use than did the younger practicing Catholics and those with no higher education.

studies have shown that religiosity, practiced or not, is positively correlated with safe sex among women [ 32 ]. The above suggests that STD prevention campaigns should consider age, religion, and educational level. However, it is possible that adult non-practicing catholic women with higher education Safe sex hiv risk their sexual behaviour more truthfully, and that therefore many of the above differences may be due to biased reporting.

Additionally, as intimated above, preventing pregnancy might explain at least in part our concerning condom use. studies have shown that older European women in stable relationships tend to use the pill, which should lower condom use among them as a side effect [ 33 ].

Safe sex hiv risk

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