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Programs succeed in reducing risky sex among HIV-positive minority men
Date:6/4/2008

Research has shown that HIV-positive African American and Hispanic men who were sexually abused as children are particularly vulnerable to engaging in high-risk sex and experiencing depressive symptoms. Yet few HIV intervention programs exist to help them.

Now, a new study by UCLA's Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities has found that interventions that address the life experiences of these men including their early sexual experiences in addition to risk and general health issues can contribute significantly toward preventing high-risk behavior and reducing depression rates. The success is largely due to the social support found within these programs, researchers say.

And while brief interventions may be effective in the short term, periodic "boosters," or additional sessions, may be needed to reinforce positive changes over time, according to the study authors.

The study is currently available in the online version of the peer-reviewed Archives of Sexual Behavior at www.springerlink.com/content/7j27370841074318/fulltext.html.

"Usually, what you find after people complete interventions is that their behaviors have improved," said Dr. John Williams, assistant professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and the study's lead researcher. "But as time goes on, they tend to revert to their old behaviors. Changing one's behavior is very difficult. We see that with all sorts of behaviors, like smoking and dieting. But with sex, it's even more difficult."

The study findings are from the UCLA Men's Health Study, a three-year project undertaken between 2003 and 2006 to develop and test HIV risk-reduction interventions. For this study, researchers recruited 137 HIV-positive gay and bisexual African American and Hispanic men who had a history o
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Contact: Enrique Rivero
erivero@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2273
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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