High-risk sexual behavior and knowledge of HIV antibody status in the San Francisco City Clinic Cohort

Doll, L.S.; O'Malley, P.M.; Pershing, A.L.; Darrow, W.W.; Hessol, N.A.; Lifson, A.R.

Health Psychology Official Journal of the Division of Health Psychology American Psychological Association 9(3): 253-265


ISSN/ISBN: 0278-6133
PMID: 2340817
DOI: 10.1037/0278-6133.9.3.253
Accession: 040285836

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To evaluate the effectiveness of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing and counseling among homosexual and bisexual men participating in the San Francisco City Clinic Cohort, compared behavioral data from 181 men who learned their HIV antibody status between 1985 and 1987 with data from 128 men who were tested but declined to receive their results. Overall, significant declines in risk indices for unprotected receptive and insertive anal intercourse occurred between 1983-1984 and 1986-1987, but these declines were independent of both knowledge of HIV status and actual serostatus. Those who chose to learn their HIV status were also no more likely to report depression or to learn their HIV status were also no more likely to report depression or anxiety subsequent to testing. Regression analyses showed no relationship between length of time since learning one's HIV status, mental health symptoms, and the persistence of high-risk behavior in 1986-1987. Although these results do not negate the value of HIV testing and counseling, they suggest that other motivating factors such as frequent access to risk-reduction information may provide sufficient impetus for behavioral change.