Sexual risk behavior among military personnel stationed at border-crossing zones in the Dominican Republic
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of sexual risk behaviors among military personnel stationed along major border-crossing zones between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
METHODS: From November 2008 to January 2009, behavioral surveys were administered to 498 active duty military personnel stationed along the three largest border-crossing zones on the western border of the Dominican Republic. Participants were selected using systematic random sampling and asked about their sexual behavior over the past 12 months, alcohol use, and mental health.
RESULTS: Forty-one percent reported having casual sex during the past 12 months, 37% of men had a history of having sex with a commercial sex worker (19% during the past 12 months), and 7% of men reported a history of having sex with a transmigrating Haitian (6% during the past 12 months). Among sexually non-monogamous respondents (51%), inconsistent condom use exceeded 60% for those engaging in anal, vaginal, or oral sex. Fifteen percent reported using sexual coercion during the past 12 months.
CONCLUSIONS. Sexual risk behaviors were prevalent among military personnel stationed along border-crossing zones between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Prevention programs targeted at military personnel in this region should incorporate sexual coercion and mental health as key elements of their HIV prevention programs.