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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Primary prevention lessons learned from those with HIV in Chennai, India

Ellen Setsuko Hendriksen A B F , A. K. Sri Krishnan C , Snigda Vallabhaneni D , Sethu Johnson C , Sudha Raminani B , N. Kumarasamy C , Suniti Solomon C , Kenneth K. H. Mayer B D and Steven S. Safren B E

A University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA.

B The Fenway Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

C YRG Centre for AIDS Research and Education, Chennai 600113, India.

D Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.

E Harvard Medical School–Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

F Corresponding author. Email: ehendriksen@partners.org

Sexual Health 8(2) 199-206 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH10015
Submitted: 12 February 2010  Accepted: 9 September 2010   Published: 18 May 2011

Abstract

Background: As each HIV-infected individual represents a breakdown of HIV primary prevention measures, formative data from representative individuals living with HIV can help shape future primary prevention interventions. Little is known about sexual behaviours and other transmission risk factors of high-risk group members who are already HIV-infected in Chennai, India. Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 27 HIV-infected individuals representing each high-risk group in Chennai (five men who have sex with men (MSM), five female commercial sex workers (CSW), four truckers and other men who travel for business, four injecting drug users (IDU), five married male clients of CSW, and four wives of CSW clients, MSM, truckers, and IDU). Results: Themes relevant to HIV primary prevention included: (1) HIV diagnosis as the entry into HIV education and risk reduction, (2) reluctance to undergo voluntary counselling and testing, (3) gender and sexual roles as determinants of condom use, (4) misconceptions about HIV transmission, and (5) framing and accessibility of HIV education messages. Conclusions: These qualitative data can be used to develop hypotheses about sexual risk taking in HIV-infected individuals in South India, inform primary prevention intervention programs, and improve primary prevention efforts overall.

Additional keywords: AIDS, education, MSM, sex workers, sexual behaviour.


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