AIDS and Behavior

, 15:1745 | Cite as

Feasibility and Promise of a Couple-Based HIV/STI Preventive Intervention for Methamphetamine-Using, Black Men Who have Sex with Men

  • Elwin Wu
  • Nabila El-Bassel
  • L. Donald McVinney
  • Leona Hess
  • Robert H. Remien
  • Mahnaz Charania
  • Gordon Mansergh
Original Paper


Accumulating evidence supports couple-based approaches for HIV/STI preventive interventions. Yet, to date, no studies have examined couple-based sexual risk reductions intervention specifically for men who have sex with men (MSM) from populations with elevated rates of HIV/STI transmission, such as black MSM and methamphetamine-involved MSM. We pilot tested—using a pre-/post-test design—a seven-session couple-based intervention for black, methamphetamine-using, black MSM couples engaging in sexual risk. Feasibility was assessed via recruitment and retention rates; potential efficacy relied on self-reported sexual risk and drug use prior to and two months following intervention delivery. We enrolled 34 couples (N = 68 men). Over 80% attended all seven intervention sessions, and retention exceeded 95% at two-month follow-up. At follow-up, participants reported significantly fewer sexual partners, fewer episodes of unprotected anal sex, and greater condom use with their main partner; participants also reported significantly less methamphetamine use, any illicit drug use, and number of illicit drugs used. These findings indicate that couple-based HIV/STI intervention is feasible and promising for at-risk black MSM couples.


HIV Prevention Couples—Men who have sex with men African American Black Methamphetamine 


  1. 1.
    El-Bassel N, Witte SS, Gilbert L, Wu E, Chang M, Hill J, et al. The efficacy of a relationship-based HIV/STD prevention program for heterosexual couples. Am J Public Health. 2003;93(6):963–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    El-Bassel N, Witte SS, Gilbert L, Wu E, Chang M, Hill J, et al. Long-term effects of an HIV/STI sexual risk reduction intervention for heterosexual couples. AIDS Behav. 2005;9(1):1–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Harvey SM, Henderson JT, Thorburn S, Beckman LJ, Casillas A, Mendez L, et al. A randomized study of a pregnancy and disease prevention intervention for Hispanic couples. Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2004;36(4):162–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Koniak-Griffin D, Lesser J, Henneman T, Rong H, Xin H, Tello J, et al. HIV prevention for Latino adolescent mothers and their partners. West J Nurs Res. 2008;30(6):724–42.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Voluntary HIV-1 Counseling and Testing Efficacy Study Group. Efficacy of voluntary HIV-1 counselling and testing in individuals and couples in Kenya, Tanzania, and Trinidad: a randomised trial. Lancet. 2000;356(9224):103-12.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jones DJ, Chitalu N, Ndubani P, Mumbi M, Weiss SM, Villar-Loubet O, et al. Sexual risk reduction among Zambian couples. SAHARA J. 2009;6(2):69–75.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jones DL, Ross D, Weiss SM, Bhat G, Chitalu N. Influence of partner participation on sexual risk behavior reduction among HIV positive Zambian women. J Urban Health. 2005;82(3 Suppl 4):92–100.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2007. Atlanta, GA: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2009.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Burton J, Darbes LA, Operario D. Couples-focused behavioral interventions for prevention of HIV: Systematic review of the state of evidence. AIDS Behav. 2010;14(1):1–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sullivan PS, Salazar L, Buchbinder S, Sanchez TH. Estimating the proportion of HIV transmissions from main sex partners among men who have sex with men in five US cities. AIDS. 2009;23(9):1153–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Peterson JL, Jones KT. HIV prevention for black men who have sex with men in the United States. Am J Public Health. 2009;99(6):976–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Colfax G, Shoptaw S. The methamphetamine epidemic: Implications for HIV prevention and treatment. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2005;2(4):194–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Halkitis PN, Parsons JT, Stirratt MJ. A double epidemic: crystal methamphetamine drug use in relation to HIV transmission among gay men. J Homosex. 2001;41(2):17–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hart T, Peterson JL, Team CITfYS. Predictors of risky sexual behavior among young African American men who have sex with men. Am J Public Health. 2004;94(7):1122–4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Auerbach JD. Principles of positive prevention. J AIDS. 2004;37(Suppl 2):S122–5.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Crepaz N, Lyles CM, Wolitski RJ, Passin WF, Rama SM, Herbst JH, et al. Do prevention interventions reduce HIV risk behaviours among people living with HIV? A meta-analytic review of controlled trials. AIDS. 2006;20(2):143–57.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Johnson BT, Carey MP, Chaudoir SR, Reid AE. Sexual risk reduction for persons living with HIV: research synthesis of randomized controlled trials, 1993 to 2004. J AIDS. 2006;41(5):642–50.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gilliam PP, Straub DM. Prevention with positives: a review of published research, 1998–2008. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2009;20(2):92–109.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wu E, El-Bassel N, McVinney LD, Fontaine Y-M, Hess L. Adaptation of a couple-based HIV intervention for methamphetamine-involved African American men who have sex with men. Open AIDS J. 2010;4:123–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bandura A. Social foundations of thought and action: a social and cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall; 1986.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    NIMH Multisite HIV/STD Prevention Trial for African American Couples Group. Eban HIV/STD risk reduction intervention: conceptual basis and procedures. J AIDS. 2008;49(Suppl 1):S15–27.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Eaton LA, West TV, Kenny DA, Kalichman SC. HIV transmission risk among HIV seroconcordant and serodiscordant couples: dyadic processes of partner selection. AIDS Behav. 2009;13(2):185–95.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Parsons JT, Schrimshaw EW, Wolitski RJ, Halkitis PN, Purcell DW, Hoff CC, et al. Sexual harm reduction practices of HIV-seropositive gay and bisexual men: serosorting, strategic positioning, and withdrawal before ejaculation. AIDS. 2005;19(Suppl 1):S13–25.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    van Kesteren NM, Hospers HJ, Kok G. Sexual risk behavior among HIV-positive men who have sex with men: a literature review. Patient Educ Couns. 2007;65(1):5–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Smith DM, Richman DD, Little SJ. HIV superinfection. J Infect Dis. 2005;192(3):438–44.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Smith DM, Wong JK, Hightower GK, Ignacio CC, Koelsch KK, Petropoulos CJ, et al. HIV drug resistance acquired through superinfection. AIDS. 2005;19(12):1251–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    NIMH Multisite HIV/STD Prevention Trial for African American Couples Group. Methodological overview of an African American couple-based HIV/STD prevention trial. J AIDS. 2008;49(1):S3–14.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    McMahon JM, Tortu S, Torres L, Pouget ER, Hamid R. Recruitment of heterosexual couples in public health research: a study protocol. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2003;3:24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. RESPECT-2 – single session counseling protocol–rapid test 2007. Last accessed date 18 June 2011.
  30. 30.
    Metcalf CA, Douglas JM Jr, Malotte CK, Cross H, Dillon BA, Paul SM, et al. Relative efficacy of prevention counseling with rapid and standard HIV testing: a randomized, controlled trial (RESPECT-2). Sex Transm Dis. 2005;32(2):130–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Wu E, El-Bassel N, Witte SS, Gilbert L, Chang M, Morse P. Enrollment of minority women and their main sexual partners in an HIV/STI prevention trial. AIDS Educ Prev. 2005;17(1):41–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Ghanem KG, Hutton HE, Zenilman JM, Zimba R, Erbelding EJ. Audio computer assisted self interview and face to face interview modes in assessing response bias among STD clinic patients. Sex Transm Infect. 2005;81(5):421–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Newman JC, Des Jarlais DC, Turner CF, Gribble J, Cooley P, Paone D. The differential effects of face-to-face and computer interview modes. Am J Public Health. 2002;92(2):294–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Williams ML, Freeman RC, Bowen AM, Zhao Z, Elwood WN, Gordon C, et al. A comparison of the reliability of self-reported drug use and sexual behaviors using computer-assisted versus face-to-face interviewing. AIDS Educ Prev. 2000;12(3):199–213.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Stall R, Purcell DW. Intertwining epidemics: a review of research on substance use among men who have sex with men and its connection to the AIDS epidemic. AIDS Behav. 2000;4(2):181–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elwin Wu
    • 1
  • Nabila El-Bassel
    • 1
  • L. Donald McVinney
    • 2
  • Leona Hess
    • 1
  • Robert H. Remien
    • 3
  • Mahnaz Charania
    • 4
  • Gordon Mansergh
    • 4
  1. 1.Social Intervention GroupColumbia University School of Social WorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Harlem UnitedNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral StudiesNew York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Division of HIV/AIDS PreventionCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations