Dr. Heidi E. Jones, a Professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and colleagues recently published a report about sexual risk and intravaginal practice behavior changes during pregnancy. The work was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
[Photo: Dr. Heidi Jones]
Some groups of pregnant women have high prevalence rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The research team examined changes in sexual risk behaviors and intravaginal practices during pregnancy that may contribute to HIV and sexually transmitted infections incidence.
The team used data from the Methods for Improved Reproductive Health in Africa study conducted in South Africa and Zimbabwe 2003-2006. They used a crossover design to compare behaviors among HIV negative women 18-45 years during pregnant and non-pregnant periods. Among the 4802 women <45 years of age at enrollment, 483 (10.1 percent) had a pregnancy and their data were included in the analysis. Compared to non-pregnant periods, pregnancy was associated with fewer than 3 sex acts per week (adjusted risk ratio = 0.89) but more sex acts without condoms (adjusted risk ratio = 1.32). Pregnancy was also associated with decreased reporting of other sexual risk behaviors including any anal sex, multiple sexual partners, and/or sex in exchange for drugs or money. Women also reported significantly less intravaginal wiping during pregnancy (adjusted risk ratio = 0.84). The research team found pregnancy decreased sexual activity and some high-risk sexual behaviors but increased the risk of sex without a condom.