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A Small Group-level HIV Risk Reduction Intervention

The Research

The Science Behind the Package
“light” is a small group intervention based on the National Institute of Mental Health Multisite HIV Prevention Trial and has the goals of decreasing unprotected sexual intercourse and increasing condom use. Grounded in social cognitive theory, the program targets three primary factors that mediate sexual risk acts: 1) outcome expectancies, 2) skills, and 3) self-efficacy. The small group format allows group members to gain knowledge and to enhance and practice risk reduction skills, and the group dynamic encourages the promotion of new social norms within a safe, supportive environment.

Target Population
Ethnically diverse men and women, aged 18 or older, who are seeking initial or follow-up treatment at STD clinics and low-income women seeking treatment at neighborhood health care clinics.

Nurses or health care educators employed by the clinic facilitate gender-specific groups of five to twelve people in a private room within the clinic. Each of the seven 90-minute sessions begins with goal review and discussion of success and barriers, review of the previous session, preview of the current session, introduction of a skill-building exercise, skill practice and discussion, session review, and goal setting. Male and female condoms are made available to participants at all sessions. Session one introduces HIV knowledge and risk personalization. Session two identifies personal risk triggers. Session three focuses on problem-solving triggers. Session four discusses and demonstrates the use of male and female condoms. Sessions five and six develop assertive communication and negotiation skills. Session seven reviews the previous session’s skills and develops plans for risk reduction behavior maintenance, and participants receive a certificate of completion.

Research Results
The “light” intervention produced the following results among program participants:

  • Significant decrease in the reported number of unprotected intercourse acts.
  • Significant increase in reported condom use over time.

For Details on the Research Design
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Multisite HIV Prevention Trial Group (1998). The NIMH Multisite HIV Prevention Trial: Reducing HIV Sexual Risk Behavior. Science, 280, 1889-1894.

The Intervention

A Package Developed from Science
Replicating Effective Programs (REP) is a CDC-initiated project that supports the translation of evidence-based HIV/AIDS prevention interventions into everyday practice, by working with the original researchers in developing a user-friendly package of materials designed for prevention providers. “light” is one of the REP interventions and is the product of extensive collaboration among researchers and a Community Advisory Board. The package has been field-tested in STD clinics by non-research staff.

Core Elements
Core elements are intervention components that must be maintained without alteration to ensure program effectiveness.

The core elements of “light” include:

  1. Reinforcement - supporting and learning from the facilitators and other group members, realizing that they are not alone in dealing with the issues of safer sex in their lives.
  2. Modeling - learning information through modeling by facilitators, videotapes, and each other in a safe, supportive environment.
  3. Goal Setting - setting specific, risk-related, behavior-change goals and gaining confidence by meeting them.
  4. Role Playing - practicing the skills acquired during each session, using realistic scenarios and partner responses.
  5. Problem-solving - applying specific techniques to situations in participants’ own lives.

Package Contents

  • Operations manual providing detailed guidance for planning, conducting, and sustaining the intervention.
  • Four videos: Promotional overview, Client recruitment, Modeling vignettes, and Facilitator training.
  • Anatomical models and sample materials and handouts.

Timeline for Availability
The “light” intervention package is currently unavailable for dissemination.

For More Information on the “light” Intervention Package
No additional information is currently available.

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