An investigation of the practice of unsafe sex yet repeated HIV testing

Naama Patinkin*, Ben Werner, Israel Yust, Yaron Yagil, Margalit Drory, Michael Burke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Rationale: A purportedly heterogeneous group of people, who come to take tests at the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Test-ing Clinic, includes young males and females who lead a normative lifestyle with no unique characteristics. Within this population, we have observed one distinct subgroup of predominantly male individuals, who return from time to time to take the HIV tests. They tend to partake in many occasional sexual encounters with numerous partners, and despite their obvious knowledge of the risks involved, they attest to not using condoms during sexual intercourse. The aim of this preliminary study was to investigate the patterns of their risky behavior in conjunction with their test taking conduct. Methods: Ten self-referred volunteering subjects were recruited. Exclusion criteria: HIV-positive, drug and/or alcohol abusers, mentally ill, men who have sex with men (MSM) and minors. The study was carried-out using semi-structured interviews (40-90 min each). The interviews were recorded, transcribed and content analyzed. Findings: Data analysis showed several possible explanations for risky sexual behavior, such as applying of a variety of risk management mechanisms, refraining from impulse control behaviors, and self-destruction motives. The reasons for undergoing HIV testing were most frequently related to specific events, high-risk in nature, and not part of a routine behavioral practice. Conclusions: Our findings might suggest that within this population group, the prevailing primary preventive interventions would not satisfy the purpose of decreasing levels and frequency of risk-taking behaviors. In the opinion of the authors, there are two strategies that could be employed, simultaneously or separately. An indirect approach entails the increase and enhancement in utilizing widely spread media, e.g., feature films and television programs, to convey issues related to curbing risk-behavior. Direct emphasis should be put on secondary preventive measures, by encouraging frequent test-taking conduct, preferably accompanied by counseling, in order to decrease the risk of further transmitting the virus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-90
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Work in Health Care
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 11 Apr 2007


  • Behavior
  • Condom
  • HIV-testing
  • Heterosexual
  • Risk


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