Paiva V, Latorre MDR, Gravato N, Lacerda R, Enhancing Care Initiative-Brasil. Sexualidade de mulheres vivendo com HIV/AIDS em São Paulo. [Enhancing Care Initiative-Brazil. The sexuality of women who live with HIV/AIDS in São Paulo .] Cadernos de Saúde Pública (Public Health Notebooks] (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) 2002; 18(6):1609-1620.

Objectives: To describe the sexual experiences of women who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, and to analyze their perception of the treatment they receive in the referral centers of two communities in São Paulo, where they have access to free anti-retroviral medicines.

Methodology: Retrospective cohort design and exploratory methods.Qualitative-quantitative, via the administration of a questionnaire with open- and closed-ended questions. 1,068 interviews were conducted.

Results: The majority of women interviewed in the study had had few sexual partners. The percentage of sexually active women were lower among the women interviewed than among the Brazilian population as a whole (54% versus 70%), according to a national survey on sexual activity. The proportion of women who had maintained sexual relations with casual partners was similar to that nationally (3% in this study, 5% in the national survey). The use of contraception among the women interviewed were three times greater than the average for Brazil .

The women interviewed pointed out that they did not feel they were being listened to or given advice, as part of the professional care they received. The number of such women who claimed that they were not adequately attended in the referral centers’ advisory services was very high.

Conclusions: The findings confirm those of other studies which indicate that the epidemic of HIV/AIDS among females in Brazil is growing among those women who have stable partners. The perceived difficulties that women experience at clinics and hospitals impede adequate care. Traditional patriarchal ideas that divide “women of the street” from “women of the hearth with children” also adversely affect prevention of this disease and the quality of life of women who carry it, as well as that of their families.

Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico