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Incidence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV Infection Related to Perceived HIV/AIDS Threat Since Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy Availability in Men Who Have Sex With Men

van der Snoek, Eric M. MD*; de Wit, John B. F. PhD; Mulder, Paul G. H. MSc, PhD; van der Meijden, Willem I. MD, PhD*

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: March 2005 - Volume 32 - Issue 3 - p 170-175
doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000149786.09706.66
Article

Objective: Concerns have been expressed regarding increase in risky sex because of the availability of antiretroviral treatments in Western countries.

Goal: The goal of this longitudinal study was to investigate the association between highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)- and postexposure prophylaxis-related beliefs and the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and new HIV infections in men who have sex with men (MSM).

Study: Data on the incidence of STDs and new HIV infection, and the level of agreement with different HAART- and PEP-related beliefs from 151 HIV-negative MSM were compiled.

Results: Of all MSM, 65.6% tested negative for any STDs and 7 men HIV seroconverted. Perceiving less HIV/AIDS threat since HAART availability and younger age were significantly associated with a higher incidence of STDs. Perceiving less need for safe sex since HAART availability was significantly associated with an increased likelihood of HIV seroconversion.

Conclusions: The results support the assumption that there is an association between the incidence of STDs and a decreased perception of HIV/AIDS threat resulting from HAART availability. Less perceived need for safe sex since HAART availability was associated with HIV seroconversion.

A longitudinal study of men who have sex with men in a Dutch cohort found an association between incidence of sexually transmitted disease and HIV infection and decreased perception of HIV/AIDS threat as a result of highly active antiretroviral therapy availability.

From the * Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; the † Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; and the ‡ Institute of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The authors thank Adrie van’t Hof, research nurse, and Edward de Haan, social nurse, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, for their contributions. Dr. B. Tank, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, is thanked for correcting the English.

Correspondence: Eric M. van der Snoek, MD, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Dr. Molewaterplein 40, 3015 GD Rotterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: e.vandersnoek@erasmusmc.nl.

Received for publication June 8, 2004, and accepted September 10, 2004.

© Copyright 2005 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association