A8 Immediate Versus Delayed Initiation of Oral Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Significantly Reduces HIV Transmission: A Survey of Implications of the HPTN 052 Study Results on the Sexual and ART-Seeking Attitudes and Behaviors of Sexually Active HIV Positive and HIV Negative Adults in Zambia.

Sthembile, Ndopu; Cyrus, Mukuka; Agness, Subulwa
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes:
doi: 10.1097/01.qai.0000413787.82329.c3

Background: The current HIV incidence rate for Zambia is 1.6% (total population 12 million). With studies indicating that early initiation of antiretroviral therapy significantly reduces HIV transmission, it is imperative that we explore the implications of such interesting results on the sexual and ART-seeking attitudes and behaviors of sexually active adults.

Objective: To study the implications of the HPTN 052 study results on the sexual and ART-seeking attitudes and behaviors of sexually active HIV+ and HIV- adults in Kafue.

Method: 107 sexually active adults (15 yrs and above) were systematically sampled. A questionnaire was used to collect the required information.

Results: Mean age of respondents was 34.96 years. Males (57%) were more than females. Eighty-eight were HIV-, while 19 were HIV+. About 67% had heard about the HPTN 052 study results, and the main source of information was newspapers (62.62%), with radio, internet, friends, clinic and other sources accounting for the 33%. 31.78% are now less scared of sexually contracting HIV due to proven efficacy of ARVs. 19. 63% (5 females and 16 men) have multiple sexual partners and 16.82% do not use condoms. 86.92% are willing to start ART early because of proven efficacy, while 13.08 are not willing. Reasons for delaying ART were side effects and lack of symptoms.

Conclusion: Relatively, a large proportion of people have not heard about the proven efficacy of ART. There is need to reach and sensitize those people now more likely to engage in reckless sexual behavior due to the perceived safety of ARVs. Sensitization campaigns should emphasize the deleterious effects of delaying ART.

(C) 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.