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Longitudinal Findings on Changes in and the Link Between HIV-Related Communication, Risky Sexual Behavior, and Relationship Status in Men Who Have Sex With Men Living With HIV

Serovich, Julianne M. PhD; Laschober, Tanja C. PhD; Brown, Monique J. PhD, MPH; Kimberly, Judy A. PhD

doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000680
Original Studies

Background: Reducing the risk of HIV transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM) is a national health priority. This study longitudinally examined changes in and the link between HIV-related communication, unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), and relationship status among MSM.

Methods: Data were obtained from 337 MSM living with HIV who participated in a randomized controlled study. Approximately equal percentages of men were randomized to either the disclosure intervention group or the attention control case management group. Repeated measures were collected at 5 time points for 12 months and included health-protective sexual communication (HPSC), HIV disclosure, insertive and receptive UAI, and relationship status. Data were analyzed using mixed-effects models.

Results: Independent of the treatment condition, HPSC and HIV disclosure increased over time; insertive UAI showed a curvilinear pattern but no significant decrease over time. Relationship status was related to HIV-related communication and UAI. Greater HPSC was related to less insertive and receptive UAI; disclosure was positively related to insertive UAI.

Conclusions: Based on the findings, prevention programs should continue to focus on improving HIV-related communication among MSM and consider relationship status in prevention messages. Intervention studies are needed to continue to identify and test factors that help reduce risky sexual behaviors.

This study found that HIV-related communication increased but unprotected anal intercourse did not decrease over time. Relationship status was related to HIV-related communication. HIV-related communication was related to unprotected anal intercourse.

From the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH082639) awarded to the first author. The authors thank the men who participated in this study.

Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Correspondence: Julianne M. Serovich, PhD, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida, 13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, MHC 1110, Tampa, FL 33612-3807. E-mail:

Received for publication March 13, 2017, and accepted June 20, 2017.

© Copyright 2017 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association