Medical News

Computerized Counseling Reduces HIV-1 Viral Load, Sexual Transmission Risk

April 22, 2014

This article was reported by Medical Xpress.

Medical Xpress reported on a study of computerized counseling to help HIV-positive individuals achieve suppressed viral load through adherence to their antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimen and to reduce transmission risk behaviors. Researchers from New York University's (NYU) Center for Drug Use and HIV Research at NYU College of Nursing (NYUCN), used a computerized counseling intervention called Computer Assessment & Rx Education (CARE+) -- a .Net-based custom software with intervention content -- to provide ART support.

Professor Ann Kurth, Ph.D., executive director of NYUCN Global and associate dean for research at NYU's Global Institute of Public Health, explained that CARE+ uses evidence-based elements proven to improve ART adherence or decrease sexual risk and provides personalized printouts with feedback, health plans, and referral telephone numbers.

The study investigated the effectiveness of the program made specifically to support patients in positive behavioral change. The researchers randomly separated the 240 participants into two groups: one group received the CARE+ intervention and the other received a computer questionnaire. The program focused on the participants' confidence, motivations, and knowledge and how behaviors affect adherence and transmission risk.

Results show that after nine months, participants in the CARE+ intervention experienced a decrease in HIV viral load, improved ART adherence, and reduction in the odds of transmission risk. Also, the majority of participants expressed increased confidence in the health behavior plan's success, found the tool easy to use, and felt the computer session was as helpful as or more so than personal counseling with a staff member.

The full report, "Computerized Counseling Reduces HIV-1 Viral Load and Sexual Transmission Risk: Findings From a Randomized Controlled Trial," was published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (2014; 65(5): 611-620).

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.

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