Original Research

Risky sexual behaviour and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) among healthcare workers

Natasha Khamisa, Maboe Mokgobi
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 19, No 1 | a744 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v19i1.744 | © 2018 Natasha Khamisa, Maboe Mokgobi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 March 2017 | Published: 26 January 2018

About the author(s)

Natasha Khamisa, Department of Public Health, Monash South Africa, South Africa
Maboe Mokgobi, Department of Psychology, Monash South Africa, South Africa

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Background: South Africa is known to have one of the highest prevalence rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) globally, with one in seven healthcare workers being HIV-positive. An HIV-positive healthcare workforce is less equipped to respond to the increasing spread of the epidemic.

Objectives: Assessment of the factors contributing to high HIV prevalence rates among healthcare workers is important in planning the development of human resources. This review sought to identify and understand predominant risky sexual behaviours among healthcare workers in HIV and AIDS-affected countries.

Methods: This study reviewed articles focusing on sexual behaviour among healthcare workers. Major health science databases (e.g. ProQuest, Cochrane, PubMed and CINAHL) were searched for combinations of keywords including ‘healthcare workers’, ‘risky sexual behaviour’ and ‘HIV and AIDS’. Articles from a range of countries met inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Results: Findings of the study revealed three main contributing factors: unprotected sex, multiple sex partners and sexual violence. Sexual violence emerged as the dominant risk factor in the majority of the studies. Most research was conducted in developed countries where the HIV infection rate is much lower than it is in developing countries.

Conclusion: More research needs to be conducted in developing countries and appropriate strategies should be implemented to reduce sexual violence among healthcare workers. Appropriate procedures on reporting sexual violence coupled with education on HIV and AIDS as well as influencing attitudes and belief systems could assist in reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS within the healthcare workforce while minimising the effect on patient care.


Risky Sexual Behaviour; HIV/AIDS; Health Workers


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