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Compendium of Evidence-Based Interventions and
Best Practices for HIV Prevention

Brief Group Counseling


Intervention Description

Target Population
Homosexual Asian and Pacific Islander (API) men

Goals of Intervention

  • Increase positive ethnic and sexual identity
  • Increase acknowledgement of HIV risk behaviors
  • Enhance AIDS knowledge, attitudes towards safer sex, safe-sex negotiation skills
  • Eliminate or reduce sex risk behaviors

Brief Description

The Brief Group Counseling intervention is a group-level counseling and skills training intervention for homosexual API men. The intervention, delivered to groups of approximately 8 men, consists of one 3-hour culturally tailored session with four key components: (1) development of positive self identity and social support; (2) safer sex education; (3) promoting positive attitudes toward safer sex; and (4) negotiating safer sex. HIV transmission facts and correct use of a condom were presented. An interactive game is used to discuss risks associated with different types of sexual partners. Participants also engage in group discussion about negative experiences associated with being API and with being homosexual, feelings toward safer sex, as well as ways to build support around their self image and personal strengths. The participants build safe-sex negotiation skills through role play and demonstrations.

Theoretic Basis

  • Health Belief Model
  • Theory of Reasoned Action
  • Social Cognitive Theory

Intervention Duration
One 3-hour session

Intervention Settings
Community-based agency

One highly trained, paid intervention coordinator and one community volunteer with 6 hours of training

Delivery Methods

  • Counseling
  • Group Discussion
  • Games
  • Role play
  • Exercises

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Intervention Package Information

An intervention package is currently available from Sociometrics, Inc.

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Evaluation Study and Results

The original evaluation study was conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area between 1992 and 1994

Key Intervention Effects

  • Reduced number of sex partners
  • Reduced unprotected sex

Study Sample
The baseline study sample of 329 men is characterized by the following:

  • 100% API (37% Chinese, 34% Filipino, 11% Other, 10% Japanese, and 8% Vietnamese)
  • 100% Male
  • 95% homosexual or bisexual
  • Mean age of 29 years
  • 66% completed college education

Recruitment Settings
Community venues including homosexual API organizations, bars catering to homosexual APIs, street fairs sponsored by general gay or Asian-American communities and local gay newspaper ads.

Eligibility Criteria
Asian or Pacific Islander men were eligible if they were engaged in same-gender sex, 18 years or older, and non-injection drug users

Assignment Method
API men (N = 329) were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups, using a 2:1 ratio: Brief Counseling (n = 208) or wait list control (n = 121).

Comparison Group
The wait list control received the intervention 3 months later

Relevant Outcomes Measured and Follow-up Time
Sex behaviors during past 3 months (including number of sex partners and having any unprotected anal intercourse) were measured at 3-month follow-up.

Participant Retention

  • Intervention:

    73% retained at 3 months

  • Control:

    88% retained at 3 months

Significant Findings

  • Intervention participants reported significantly fewer sex partners than control participants at the 3-month follow-up (p < .001). This significant intervention effect was also found among the sub-sample of men with 0-1 sex partners at baseline (p < .05), among men with ≥ 2 sex partners at baseline (p < .01), and among Chinese and Filipino men combined (p < .01).
  • Among Chinese/Filipino men, intervention participants were significantly less likely to report unprotected anal intercourse compared to control participants at the 3-month follow-up (p < .05).

The intervention effect on unprotected anal intercourse was not found to be significant for the overall sample or for the diverse sub-sample of API men who were not Chinese or Filipino. The intervention’s most consistent effect was on reduction in the number of sex partners.

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References and Contact Information

  • Choi, K. -H., Lew, S., Vittinghoff, E., Catania, J. A., Barrett, D. C., & Coates, T. J. (1996). The efficacy of brief group counseling in HIV risk reduction among homosexual Asian and Pacific Islander men. AIDS, 10, 81-87.

Researcher: Dr. Kyung-Hee Choi
Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS)
AIDS Research Institute
University of California, San Francisco
50 Beale Street, Suite 1300
San Francisco, CA 94105.

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