To determine the factors associated with the adoption or maintenance of consistent safer sexual behaviors among human immunodeficiency virus-positive adolescents and young adults with hemophilia.
One hundred eleven adolescents at 10 hemophilia care sites participated in an intervention program designed to increase safer sexual behaviors (abstinence, condom use, or nonpenetrative behavior). The theory-based intervention spanned 1 year. Adolescents attended individual sessions, small group activities, and an intensive group retreat.
Patients who maintained or improved safer sexual behaviors were compared with those who relapsed or did not improve. Logistic regression analyses found that improvement and maintenance of safer sexual behavior were significantly associated with perceived peer support for outercourse (odds ratio [OR]: 5.47; confidence interval [CI]: 1.4–20.8), perceived peer support for abstinence (OR: 5.08; CI: 1.2–20.1), and decreased general emotional distress (OR: 4.65; CI: 1.04–20.6). Perceived health status and previous sexual behavior were unrelated to change in safer sexual behavior.
These longitudinal data indicate that improvement and maintenance of safer sexual behavior among adolescents during an intervention is strongly associated with perceptions of peer support for safer sex and lesser degrees of emotional distress. Programs for human immunodeficiency virus-infected adolescents may require developmentally appropriate social and psychological approaches to impact peer norms and emotional well-being.