Original Research

Sexual dissatisfaction and associated factors in a sample of patients on antiretroviral treatment in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Karl Peltzer
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 17, No 3 | a296 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v17i3.296 | © 2011 Karl Peltzer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 April 2011 | Published: 01 September 2011

About the author(s)

Karl Peltzer, HIV/AIDS, STI and TB (HAST ) Research Programme, Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, and Department of Psychology, University of Limpopo, Turfloop, Polokwane

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Background: Sexual expression affects physical, mental and social well-being. There is a lack of understanding on sexual problems among patients on antiretroviral treatment in Africa.

Methods: Using systematic sampling, HIV-positive patients were selected prior to commencing on ART from outpatient departments from three hospitals and followed-up for 20 months (n=495) and interviewed with a questionnaire.

Results: Rates of self-reported sexual problems were high (34.3%, among men: 30.3% and women 36.0%) but significantly reduced from prior to ART (57.7%) to 20 months on ART (34.3%) (P=0.006). In multivariate analysis not being formally employed (odds ratio: 0.4, 0.2-0.9), having had sexual intercourse in the past 3 months (OR: 5.8, 1.7-19.8), taking medications for HIV-related opportunistic infections (OR: 2.5, 1.1-5.7), internalized stigma (OR: 1.4, 1.2-1.6), lack of social support (OR: 0.4, 0.3-0.6), and low depressive symptoms (OR: 0.9, 0.8-1.0) were found to be associated with sexual problems.

Conclusions: This prospective study with a large sample of persons on ART showed evidence of reduction of sexual problems over time and a number of factors influencing sexual problems which should be addressed in health care provider interventions.


sexual problems; condom use; sexual risk behaviour; HIV symptoms; HIV medications; depression symptoms; social support


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Crossref Citations

1. Factors Associated with General Sexual Functioning and Sexual Satisfaction among People Living with HIV: A Systematic Review
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