Mirror, mirror on the wall: the face of HIV-positive women in Europe today

C Nöstlinger, S Nideröst, R Woo, T Platteau, J Loos, R Colebunders

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights are important components of quality of life. This cross-sectional study describes HIV-positive women's SRH aspirations and needs and the predictive value of selected SRH factors on condom use with steady sexual partners. Data were collected in a European multi-centre study in 17 HIV centres in 14 European countries by a standardised anonymous self-administered questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and hierarchical regression analysis were carried out and qualitative data from related formative research illustrated the findings. Among 387 HIV-positive women, 57% had children and 35% had become pregnant since their HIV-diagnosis. Contraceptive needs were largely unmet: 14% had undergone a pregnancy termination. About 83% changed their sexual behaviour after HIV-diagnosis in some ways. Sixty-two percent had at least one sexual encounter with a steady partner during the past six months and 51% used condoms consistently. Significant correlations with condom use were identified for childbearing since HIV-diagnosis (r= - 0.21, p<0.01), miscarriage since HIV-diagnosis (r= - 0.24, p<0.01), the use of contraception (r=0.47, p<0.001) and changes in sexual behaviour after HIV-diagnosis (r=0.20, p<0.01). Hierarchical regression analysis controlled for education, migration background, age, undetectable viral load and partners' serostatus. The following significant predictors for condom use were established: the use of contraceptives (beta=0.33, p<0.001); miscarriage since HIV-diagnosis (beta=- 0.16, p<0.01); childbearing since HIV-diagnosis (beta =- 0.12, p<0.05); and having an HIV-positive partner (beta=- 0.13, p<0.05). For study population, consistent condom use performed a challenge. Selected SRH-issues predicted condom use. Sexual risk reduction and positive prevention should be discussed in the context of family planning and integrate SRH perspectives in routine HIV care
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAIDS Care
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)919-926
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Viral diseases
    • HIV
    • AIDS
    • Sexual health
    • Reproductive health
    • Women
    • Seropositivity
    • Predictive value
    • Sexual behavior
    • Condom use
    • Miscarriage
    • Prevention
    • Europe


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