Participants were assigned to one of two intervention programs the researchers sought to compare: one, known as the Sexual Health Intervention for Men (S-HIM), was aimed at lowering high-risk behaviors, such as unprotected sex and multiple sex partners; the other, the Standard Health Promotion (SHP), focused on health issues unrelated to sexual behavior, such as diet, exercise, rest and medication adherence.
Both programs consisted of six weekly, two-hour sessions with groups of five to seven men. The men were split into African American or Hispanic groups, with each group led by an ethnically matched mentor. Follow-ups were conducted immediately after the sixth session, as well as three and six months later.
Researchers found that men from both intervention groups reduced risky behaviors and their number of sexual partners and also experienced a decrease in depressive symptoms. The S-HIM group participants, however, demonstrated a significantly greater decrease in risky behavior from the beginning of the study to the immediate post-program survey. And while there were no significant differences in decreased depression between the two groups, men from the whole sample reported a significant decrease in depressive symptoms by the six-month follow-up.
The social support the participants found in these groups, where they were able to share their experiences including those concerning childhood sexual abuse likely contributed to this outcome, Williams said.
"Boosters" may be necessary so that participants can revisit and practice skills that they have learned, he said. For instance, participants can practice applying condoms to a penis model so they become familiar with the common errors in using condoms and feel more confident i
|Contact: Enrique Rivero|
University of California - Los Angeles