Researchers have reported high risky sex practices among HIV discordant patients attending the Defense Forces Memorial Hospital in Nairobi.
Many of the HIV discordant individuals, a study at the facility say have multiple sexual partners, poor use of condoms and low disclosure of HIV status to partners.
The study by a team from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology involved 315 HIV discordant individuals attending the Defense Forces Memorial Hospital.
The facility along Mbagathi Road off Ngong Road provides services to approximately 1,400 HIV+ discordant individuals, indicates the report published in the current issue of the KEMRI supported African Journal of Health Sciences.
While most of the study participants, about 97 per cent used condoms, a significant majority did not use them correctly or consistently.
“Many study participants, 58, reported engaging in sex with multiple partners. Among this, about 40 per cent did not disclose their HIV status,” says the study.
Many of the respondents who reported engaging in high risk sexual practices blamed it on drugs and alcohol which also affected consistent condom use.
“Out of the participants who had engaged in sex with other partners apart from their usual one, 21 per cent were under the influence of alcohol,” says the study.
Though the study does not indicate the gender of participants, majority of those who reported not using a condom said it was less pleasurable, two said they were protected by God and one claimed natural immunity.
The female condom was reported as uncomfortable especially if worn for long periods such as above 30 minutes.
To protect their usual partners from infections some participants, about three per cent said they stayed away, abstained or slept on separate beds.
The study strongly recommends HIV-infected persons disclose this to their sex partners; the need for fidelity and or use of protection.
“There is a need to educate and emphasize abstinence, faithfulness to one partner, correct use of condoms, and advocate for behavior change to reduce risk of infection,” says the study led by Eunice Chelogoi of JKUAT.
By Gatonye Gathura