Satisfaction with sexual life in people living with HIV/AIDS: the persistent weight of the fear of transmission.

Research paper by M M Peyre, A A Gauchet, F F Bissuel, M M Blanc, A A Boibieux, L L Cotte, E E Forestier, C C Janssen, L L Legout, O O Epaulard

Indexed on: 24 Oct '18Published on: 24 Oct '18Published in: AIDS care


Sexual life is an important dimension of quality of life, which may be affected by the fear of transmission in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), despite the fact that antiretroviral therapy prevents person-to-person transmission. We, therefore, aimed to explore the sexual life satisfaction of PLWHA and its correlation with their fear of HIV transmission and self-esteem. Consecutive adult PLWHA from seven HIV care facilities in the Rhone-Alpes region, France, were asked to complete a self-administered, anonymous questionnaire concerning sociological and medical data, satisfaction with sexual life (18 questions), and self-esteem (Rosenberg score). Overall, 690 PLWHA answered the questionnaire (mean age 49.2 ± 11 years); 74.9% were men, of which 75.1% had sex with men. Overall, 68.0% of respondents feared transmitting HIV (a lot/a bit). A lower satisfaction with sexual life was significantly associated with being female, not having a stable sexual partner, being unemployed, having a low income, experiencing a fear of HIV transmission, having lower self-esteem, and not reporting an excellent/very good health status. These results strongly suggest that the information concerning the antiretroviral-induced suppression of infectivity should be widely diffused, as this may enhance the quality of sexual life in PLWHA.