, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 123-144

Outcomes of a Randomized Small-Group HIV Prevention Intervention Trial for People with Serious Mental Illness

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Abstract

HIV prevalence is alarmingly high among persons with serious mental illness and severely mentally ill adults frequently engage in high-risk behavior practices. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a small-group HIV risk reduction intervention offered to 189 men and women in outpatient programs for severely mentally ill adults. Participants screened for HIV risk were randomly assigned to attend either a 7-session small-group cognitive-behavioral HIV risk reduction intervention or a time-matched comparison intervention and were followed at 3-month intervals for one year. Participants who attended the HIV risk reduction intervention increased their condom use, had a higher percentage of intercourse occasions protected by condoms, and held more positive attitudes toward condoms. Women showed greater response to the intervention than men. While many behavior change effects were present at 3-, 6- and 9-month followup assessments, most diminished by the 12-month followup. These results underscore the need for tailored but ongoing HIV prevention efforts integrated into community programs that serve people with serious mental illness.