Knowledge and behaviours associated with HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections in blood donors in Italy

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Abstract

Introduction. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) represent a group of widespread infectious diseases. The objective of this study is to investigate the knowledge on HIV and STIs as well as sexual risk behaviours among blood donors in Italy.
Materials and methods. The study was carried out in 2017 among blood donors who accessed social media of the Italian Association of Blood Donors (Associazione Volontari Italiani del Sangue, AVIS), and answered to a questionnaire posted online.
Results. Participating blood donors were 9,021, median age 36 years (IQR 26-47), 53.9%
males, 94.3% heterosexual, and 2.7% reported having a current occasional partner. Unprotected sex in the last 4 months was reported by 54.1% of participants. About half of the participants were not informed of most STIs, 11.0% reported never having searched for information on HIV and STIs, one third considered unlikely acquiring HIV through unprotected sex with a known person, 21.3% would stop having sex with a partner found to be HIV-positive, and 15.8% would be afraid to hug or kiss a person with HIV.
Discussion. Our results show that most blood donors have a stable partner and search actively for information on HIV and STIs. However, there is a proportion of them who engage in high-risk behaviours, have misconceptions on HIV and STIs transmission, reporting a stigmatising attitude towards people with HIV.
Conclusion. A more comprehensive and updated information on various STIs, transmission
modes and safe sex should be provided to blood donors, not only to prevent the spread of these infections but also to avoid unjustified discrimination.

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Authors

Vincenza Regine - Istituto Superiore di Sanità

Lucia Pugliese - Istituto Superiore di Sanità https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5322-3169

Alice Simonetti

Francesco Marchionni

Gianpietro Briola

Vincenzo Saturni

Barbara Suligoi - Istituto Superiore di Sanità

How to Cite
Regine, V., Pugliese, L., Simonetti, A., Marchionni, F., Briola, G. ., Saturni, V., & Suligoi, B. (2023). Knowledge and behaviours associated with HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections in blood donors in Italy. Annali dell’Istituto Superiore Di Sanità, 59(3), 180–186. https://doi.org/10.4415/ANN_23_03_02
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