We examined the prevalence of inconsistent condom use and its correlates among people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the Asia-Pacific region.
Between 1 October 2012 and 31 May 2013, a total of 7843 PLHIV aged 18-50 years were recruited using targeted and venue-based sampling in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR), Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Vietnam. Logistic regression was used to explore the association between condom use behaviour and demographics, social support, stigma and discrimination and various health-related variables.
Overall, 43% of 3827 PLHIV practised inconsistent condom use at sexual intercourse with their regular partner. An even higher proportion, 46% of 2044 PLHIV admitted that they practised unprotected sex with a casual partner. Participants from Lao PDR reported the lowest prevalence of inconsistent condom use for both regular and casual partners, while participants from the Philippines had the highest risk behaviour. Inconsistent condom use was significantly associated with belonging to a key population (drug user, sex worker or refugee subpopulation), not knowing that condoms are still needed if both partners are HIV positive, having a regular partner whose HIV status was either positive or unknown, having experienced physical assault and not receiving antiretroviral treatment.
This large seven-country study highlights a high prevalence of inconsistent condom use among PLHIV in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to knowledge-imparting interventions, the adoption and expansion of the 'Test and Treat' strategy could help to maximise the prevention benefits of antiretroviral treatment.