AIDS and sexual behaviour in France

Spira A|Bajos N|Bejin A|Beltzer N|Bozon M|Ducot B|Durandeau A|Ferrand A|Giami A|Gilloire A
Publication Year:
NATURE. 1992 Dec 3; 360(6403):407-9.
40,000 telephone numbers were randomly selected in the early phases of a survey of sexual behavior and AIDS in the general population of France. 20,055 people aged 18-69 years ultimately completed the 15-minute telephone questionnaire constituting the first part of the survey conducted over the period September 1991 to February 1992. Questions probed the prevalence of homosexual/bisexual intercourse, intercourse with prostitutes over the past 5 years, multiple partners, and drug consumption in the past year. An additional 30-minute questionnaire was applied to the 2271 respondents of the first questionnaire who reported one of the risk factors and to 2549 control individuals randomly selected by birth date. This latter questionnaire included a sexual biography and details of several psychological and social characteristics. Men and women had mean totals of 11.0 and 3.3 sex partners, respectively, over their lifetimes and 1.2 and 0.9 partners during the previous year. The proportion of people who had at least 2 sex partners in the past year decreases sharply with age, especially after 25 years, with young people changing partners more frequently than older people but being less likely to have more than 1 sex partner at any one time. 4.1% of men and 2.6% of women reported ever having sexual intercourse with a person of the same sex. A markedly greater proportion of respondents in more developed and urban areas reported both sex with multiple partners and homosexual intercourse experience; this latter practice was 4.7% times greater in Paris than in rural communities. 3.3% of men had intercourse with prostitutes in the past 5 years; the disaggregated proportions are 6.2% in Paris and 1.7% in rural communities. 0.5% of men and 0.2% of women reported ever using intravenous drugs. 56.5% of men and 43.7% of women reported ever using a condom during intercourse, but the most widespread use was among the youngest subjects. Usage rates among those aged 18-19 in the past year were 79.8% and 48.0% for sexually active men and women, respectively. Condom use was also most prevalent among those with multiple partners, with 75% of multipartner homosexual men aged 18-44 years and more than 65% of men and 50% of women with multiple heterosexual partners using a condom at least once over the past year. 18% of men and 11% of women used a condom at last intercourse. A comparable, more specific study is being conducted on those aged 15-18 years.