Australian women living with HIV/AIDS are more sceptical than men about antiretroviral treatment Academic Article uri icon


  • A national survey of 925 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Australia conducted in the second half of 1997 showed that the proportion of HIV-positive women (61%) reporting they currently used antiretroviral treatment was significantly lower than that of men (79%). Women (37%) were also significantly less likely than men (59%) to report that they believe new treatments have brought hope and better prospects for PLWHA. Thirteen women and 63 men who completed the survey also participated in an in-depth interview which further explored the use of, and attitudes to, antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS and their impact on personal relationships and work-related issues. Taken together, the survey and interview data suggest that male PLWHA have positive albeit qualified views about antiretrovirals and believe their health and future prospects have been improved by advances in treatments. In contrast, female PLWHA were sceptical about treatments and were unwilling to link their future prospects to the outcomes of antiretroviral therapy. Multivariate analysis of the correlates of attitudes to treatments revealed gender to be a significant independent predictor of more positive attitudes. These results are important considerations for health care workers in ensuring that HIV treatment services become more acceptable to HIV-positive women.

publication date

  • February 2001