China’s population is quickly aging and this trend is expected to continue. Thus it is important to develop HIV interventions to help protect older Chinese from infection. Limited information exists regarding sexual risk behaviors and associated personal motivations among persons aged 50 and over in China.
In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 HIV-infected and 14 uninfected men aged 50 and over in Shanghai, China.
More than 71% of heterosexual participants had engaged in commercial sex, 37.5% either had engaged in casual sex or had a steady extramarital partner. All gay/bisexual participants had engaged in casual sex with men, and 16.7% had engaged in commercial sex. Personal motivations associated with sexual risk behaviors included sexual desire and interest in sex remaining high at an older age, unfulfilled sexual desires within marriage, homosexual or bisexual orientation, need to socialize with others, peer influence, personal choice of "hobby", and financial freedom.
This study sheds light on the sexual needs of older people. Our findings underscore the need for both greater education in order to reshape societal perceptions of sexuality among older adults and prevention strategies to help the older male population maintain a healthy sexual life.
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