Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
PAIVA, Vera and ENHANCING CARE INITIATIVE - BRAZIL et al. Sexuality of women living with HIV/AIDS in São Paulo. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2002, vol.18, n.6, pp. 1609-1619. ISSN 0102-311X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2002000600015.
The social and cultural setting which increases female vulnerability to HIV does not disappear when women living with HIV/AIDS discover that they are infected. Following diagnosis, new challenges arise in their emotional lives, an issue which has received little attention in the literature. This study interviewed 1068 women living with HIV/AIDS using a questionnaire consisting of both open and closed questions, aimed at describing aspects of their sexual and reproductive lives and how they perceive counseling at Reference Centers in two cities in the State of São Paulo, where they have access to free antiretroviral therapy. Of the women with stable sexual partners, 63% used condoms in all their sexual relations, or three times the national average; 43% of the partners were HIV-negative and 14% had unknown serological status; 73% of the women had children and 15% were considering becoming pregnant. Knowledge on mother-to-child transmission was less than expected, and the interviewees complained of limited space and receptiveness for discussing sexuality, especially with regard to their childbearing wishes. Counseling on sexuality should be a continuing process and requires interdisciplinary training for the professional team working in health care services, with an emphasis on sexual and reproductive rights.
Keywords : Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Women's Health; Sex Behavior; Sex Counseling.