This article was reported by Healio.
Healio reported on research to determine whether a sexual risk reduction intervention program targeted to South African men may help promote safer sexual practices, since in South Africa HIV is transmitted mostly through heterosexual sex.
The researchers conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial with 1,106 men ages 18-45 from 206 matched neighborhoods with similar demographic features in the target area of Eastern Cape Province. The researchers randomly selected 22 pairs of neighborhoods, which they randomly assigned to an HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk modification program or an attention-control program focusing on health factors not involved with sexual risk.
The study's goal was regular condom use in the past three months. At 12-month follow-up, the men in the HIV and STI risk-reduction had higher self-reported consistent condom use and condom use during last vaginal intercourse. There was no difference in behaviors such as unprotected sex or multiple partners and ongoing or casual partnerships between the participants in the two interventions.
Findings did not change significantly between 6-month and 12-month follow-up, which suggested that the participants retained the behaviors. The researchers noted that the intervention increased men's reports of discussing condom use with their partners.
The full report, "Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial of an HIV/Sexually Transmitted Infection Risk-Reduction Intervention for South African Men," was published in the American Journal of Public Health (2014; 104 (3): 467-473).