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UCLA-led project aimed at African American couples affected by HIV gets $2.5 million boost
Date:8/2/2012

A UCLA-led project to implement a unique HIV intervention program aimed at reducing sexually risky behaviors and promoting healthier living among heterosexual African American couples has received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

The program, based on Eban a Yoruban concept from West Africa that symbolizes "safety, security and love within one's family and community" is designed not only to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases but to increase couples' ability to communicate with each other, make safer behaviors more appealing, stay in healthy relationships and respect their communities. The culturally congruent program takes into consideration participants' cultural beliefs, traditions and practices.

The project's lead investigator, Gail E. Wyatt, a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and co-director of the UCLA AIDS Institute, previously developed and led a four-city study testing the Eban intervention with 535 heterosexual African American couples that were serodiscordant one partner had HIV and the other did not.

In that controlled trial, Eban helped couples significantly reduce the incidence of unprotected sex by increasing condom use. The researchers estimated that if the Eban participants had not received the intervention, six women and four men would have become infected with HIV in one year, and 25 women and 15 men would have become infected over five years.

Based on the successful outcomes in that trial, the researchers will now assess how well the intervention works in the "real world" as delivered by community-based agencies that serve African American clients. The new grant-funded Eban II Project study will support an in-depth assessment of the barriers and facilitators to community-based implementation and the cost-effectiveness of treating HIV-positive and
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Contact: Enrique Rivero
erivero@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2273
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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