Sexually transmitted infection as a risk factor for HIV : describing treatment seeking behaviours and sexual risk practices of clinic attendees at the Cyril Zulu Communicable Diseases Centre : a potential application of the information-motivation-behaviour skills model for HIV prevention interventions.
van Loggerenberg, Francois.
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Co-infection with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is both an indicator of behavioural risk, as well as an indicator of increased risk for infection with HIV. This is a cross-sectional, descriptive study. The overall aim of the study is to profile the demographic data, health seeking behaviour, sexual risk behaviour and HIV awareness and willingness to test in a sample of STI clinic attendees in order to inform intervention programmes aimed at reducing the burden of disease in this group, thereby reducing HIV risk. It is hypothesised that those individuals who are poorly informed about key prevention information (particularly regarding the biological susceptibility to HIV infection when co-infected with an STI), who are poorly motivated due to poor attitudes towards or lack of social norms in favour of prevention behaviour, and who lack some key behaviour skills (like skills for identifying STIs early, or negotiating safer sexual practises) will be less likely to be able to initiate and maintain specific prevention behaviours. Data are collected using a structured questionnaire and analysed in relation to the Information-Motivation Behavioural Skills (IMB) model of HIV prevention behaviour. This model was specifically developed to provide a conceptual framework for the design, implementation and assessment of targeted and empirically focussed interventions to change sexual risk behaviour in HIV. Components of the IMB model that are identified as important in contributing to risk of infection in this group are identified. Finally, recommendations regarding the form and content of an intervention in this group are made. The study concludes that STI clinics may be excellent environments within which to implement HIV risk reduction pehavioural interventions which currently may be missed opportunities.