Medical News

Program Modifies Behavior in Some HIV-Mixed Couples

July 23, 2010

Black HIV-discordant couples participating in an HIV/STD risk-reduction intervention program demonstrated lower rates of risky behavior, according to a new study by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health.

Willo Pequegnat and colleagues conducted a cluster-randomized trial of couples taking the "Eban" intervention program. Of the 535 discordant couples enrolled, 260 took part in Eban, which included eight weekly two-hour sessions led by trained African-American facilitators. The remaining 275 couples participated in a similarly structured general health-promotion program targeting individual -- not couple-focused -- health and behaviors linked to heart disease, hypertension, and certain cancers. The main behavioral outcome was couple?s reported use of condoms, while the primary biological outcome was cumulative incidence of STDs.

The baseline average proportion of condom-protected intercourse for each group was 44 percent. At the end of one year, Eban participants reported significant increases in condom use and more consistent condom use. After adjustment for baseline measure, the rate was 77 percent in the Eban group compared with 47 percent in the control group. The adjusted percentage of couples consistently using condoms was 63 percent in the intervention group and 48 percent in the control group.

However, cumulative STD incidence between the groups did not differ at the end of 12-month follow-up. This could be because the intervention did not affect the rate of concurrent partners, the researchers noted.

Two HIV-negative partners in the intervention group seroconverted compared with three in the control group, a total of five seroconversions among the 535 couples, translating to 935 infections per 100,000 population. This observed seroconversion rate is "substantially larger" than the annual HIV incidence estimate overall for blacks (approximately 83.8 per 100,000), suggesting that HIV-negative members of such couples are at very high risk, the researchers warned.

The study, "National Institute of Mental Health Multisite Eban HIV/STD Prevention Intervention for African-American HIV Serodiscordant Couples: A Cluster Randomized Trial," was published early online in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2010;doi:10.1001/archinternmed/2010/261.

Back to other news for July 2010

Adapted from:
MedPage Today
07.12.2010; Michael Smith

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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