Skip directly to local search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

HIV Risk Reduction Efficacy Review Methods

The PRS efficacy review process for identifying HIV Risk Reduction (RR) evidence-based behavioral interventions is conducted using well-established systematic procedures for searching and reviewing the intervention research literature. The information presented below describes the RR search strategy for identifying relevant articles, RR study eligibility criteria for inclusion in the review, and RR study coding procedures for reviewing the quality of the evidence. A detailed overview of the PRS search strategy is available in the article Developing a comprehensive search strategy for evidence based systematic reviews in the open access journal Evidence Based Library and Information Practice.

RR Search Strategy

Using a comprehensive and systematic search strategy, PRS developed a cumulative database of the HIV, AIDS, and STD prevention research literature. This cumulative database is continually updated using both automated and manual search components.

The automated search component involves the annual search of 4 electronic bibliographic databases (EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Sociological Abstracts). The PRS project also conducted a systematic search of the AIDSLINE database prior to its discontinuation in December 2000. These searches identify articles that focus on HIV/AIDS or STD behavioral prevention.

The manual search consists of regularly reviewing 36 journals to identify articles not yet indexed in the electronic databases. Quarterly, PRS team members screen all issues of the journals published within the previous 3 months to locate relevant articles. To identify additional studies, PRS also examines the reference lists of published articles, HIV/AIDS Internet listservs, and unpublished manuscripts submitted by study authors.

For each eligible intervention study, the PRS cumulative database is searched to identify all articles reporting descriptive or outcome data from the same intervention. All articles describing the same intervention study are considered linked reports and are included in the review process for that study. Additional details about these search strategies and procedures can be obtained by contacting PRS.

Top of Page

RR Study Eligibility

Once articles are identified through the systematic search, they are screened to determine eligibility for the PRS individual- and group-, or community-level intervention efficacy review. To be included in the review, studies must meet each of the following inclusion criteria:

  • Focus on an HIV, AIDS, or STD behavioral intervention
  • Outcome evaluation with a comparison arm
  • Published or accepted for publication in a peer–reviewed journal
  • Conducted in the United States or a U.S. territory
  • Report any of the following relevant outcome data:
    • Behaviors directly impacting HIV risk:
      • Sex risk behaviors (e.g., abstinence, mutual monogamy, number of sex partners, negotiation of safer sex, condom use, refusal to have unsafe sex)
      • Drug injection behaviors (e.g., frequency of injection drug use, needle sharing)
    • Biologic measures of HIV or other STD infections (e.g., prevalence or incidence measures of hepatitis, HIV, or other STDs)

Interventions that focus on the following types of prevention are not currently included in the PRS efficacy review:

  • Substance abuse treatment only
  • Needle exchange
  • HIV counseling and testing only
  • Partner counseling and referral services
  • Policy changes
  • School-based curricula

Top of Page

RR Study Coding Procedures

Pairs of trained content analysts independently code the PRS RR efficacy criteria for each eligible study. This coding includes all linked articles reporting information on the same intervention study. All discrepancies between coder pairs are reconciled.

If the study does not report critical information needed to determine intervention efficacy, the PRS team contacts the principal investigator of the study to obtain the missing information or to seek additional clarification. The final efficacy determination for each study is reached by PRS team consensus.

Top of Page

HIV Risk Reduction Manual Search Journal List (n=36)

AIDS and Behavior
AIDS Education and Prevention
AIDS Patient Care and STDs
American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
American Journal of Public Health
Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Evaluation and Program Planning
Health Education & Behavior
Health Education Research
Health Psychology
International Journal of STD & AIDS
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
JAMA Journal of the American Medical Association
JAMA Pediatrics
Journal of Adolescent Health
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Journal of Health Communication
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Journal of Urban Health
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health
PLoS Medicine
Public Health Reports
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Substance Use & Misuse
Tropical Medicine & International Health

Back to Efficacy Reviews

Top of Page


Get Tested

Find an HIV testing site near you.

Search location, such as: "Atlanta, GA", or "30033".

For more information, please visit

Please contact with any comments, suggestions, or concerns.

Syndicate This Content Podcast button Tell us what you think button CDC-INFO The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO