A randomized trial of an education and support program for HIV infected individuals.
Objectives : To assess the effectiveness of an intervention for providing information and support to HIV-positive donors on changes in their sexual behavior, and to assess which donor characteristics are predictive of behavior change. Design : Subjects were randomly assigned to a structured intervention or community referral group. Follow-up assessments were conducted every 6 months. Setting : New York City, New York, USA. Participants : A cohort of 271 HIV-infected persons who donated blood to the New York Blood Center. Intervention : Donors randomized to the structured intervention program met individually with a nurse for counseling and were offered a six-session support group. The program was designed to provide information, encourage safer sexual behavior and provide support. Main outcome measures : Sexual behavior, psychological distress and psychological help seeking, and immune function. Results : In both groups there was a large decrease over time in reports of unsafe sexual activity. However, more than 30% of participants in both groups reported unsafe sexual activity at the 1-year follow-up visit. Donors randomized to the structured intervention program did not report significantly more behavior change at the 1-year follow-up. Conclusions : Better programs to promote behavior change in seropositive individuals are needed.