14 August 2006

HIV+: 1 in 3 doesn't use condoms

Almost a third of people who know that they are HIV-positive are not using condoms, a recent South African study has found.

People who are sexually active and know their HIV status are more likely to use a condom, but almost a third of people who know that they are HIV-positive are not using condoms, a recent South African study has found.

The study also found that men who were having sex with partners more than five years their junior and women who had sexual partners more than five years older than themselves, were at a higher risk of infection.

A team of researchers, led by Shandir Ramlagan, examined the findings of the 2005 South African national household survey on HIV Prevalence, Incidence, Behaviour and Communication, in which more than 24 000 South Africans were tested for HIV, and asked about their risk or protective behaviour for HIV infection. Over 65% of the respondents were also tested to determine their HIV status.

The results were presented at a poster session at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Canada, yesterday.

Everyone at risk
"It is essential to keep highlighting the fact that people of all age groups and of both sexes are at risk of HIV infection," Ramlagan said. "This includes those who do not see themselves as being at risk."

"If the further spread of HIV in South Africa is to be prevented, positive intervention programmes targeting people living with HIV/Aids must be developed as a matter of urgency," Ramlagan said.

Shandir Ramlagan is a senior researcher in the Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health research programme at the HSRC.

The poster, The risky sexual behaviours of adults (15yrs and older) who have tested HIV+ in the second national HIV seroprevalence study of SA is available at and

Read more:
HIV programmes must include the elderly
Traditional healers partners in HIV prevention
Many women neglected in HIV studies
A pill to prevent HIV?


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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