Sexual Behavior and HIV/Sexually Transmitted Infection Risk Behaviors in the General Population of Slovenia, a Low HIV Prevalence Country in Central Europe

In the current study, the researchers set out to describe sexual and HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk behaviors in Slovenia. In 1999-2001, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of the general population, ages 18-49, was conducted. Face-to-face interviews and anonymous self-administered questionnaires were used to collect data. Statistical methods for complex survey data were used.

A total of 849 men and 903 women were interviewed. In the past five years, men and women alike reported a median of one heterosexual partner (means, respectively: 3.2, 1.5). Concurrent heterosexual partnerships were reported by 24.4 percent of men and by 8.2 percent of women. Heterosexual sex with non-Slovenian partners was reported by 12.6 percent of men and by 12.2 percent of women. Among women, 4.8 percent reported forced sex. Among men, 2.6 percent reported they had paid for heterosexual sex, and 0.6 percent reported sex with a man. Heterosexual sex with an injecting drug user was reported by 1.2 percent of men and 1.3 percent of women. Beginning at least one new heterosexual partnership in the past year was reported by 22.7 percent of men and 9.5 percent of women. In the preceding four weeks, a mean 6.1 episodes of heterosexual sex were reported by men; women reported a mean of 6.0 episodes. "Consistent and inconsistent condom use was reported more frequently among men reporting multiple female partners and those not married or cohabiting," the researchers noted.

"Recent patterns of reported sexual behavior are consistent with a low risk of HIV and STI transmission in Slovenia," the authors concluded. "The results will inform Slovenian sexual health policies including HIV/STI prevention, and are particularly valuable because population-based data on HIV/STI risk behavior have not previously been available in low HIV prevalence countries of Central Europe."