AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 20, Issue 9, pp 1841–1850 | Cite as

Feasibility of Using Soccer and Job Training to Prevent Drug Abuse and HIV

  • Mary Jane Rotheram-BorusEmail author
  • Mark Tomlinson
  • Andrew Durkin
  • Kelly Baird
  • Jeff DeCelles
  • Dallas Swendeman
Original Paper


Many young, South African men use alcohol and drugs and have multiple partners, but avoid health care settings—the primary site for delivery of HIV intervention activities. To identify the feasibility of engaging men in HIV testing and reducing substance use with soccer and vocational training programs. In two Cape Town neighborhoods, all unemployed men aged 18–25 years were recruited and randomized by neighborhood to: (1) an immediate intervention condition with access to a soccer program, random rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for alcohol and drug use, and an opportunity to enter a vocational training program (n = 72); or (2) a delayed control condition (n = 70). Young men were assessed at baseline and 6 months later by an independent team. Almost all young men in the two neighborhoods participated (98 %); 85 % attended at least one practice (M = 42.3, SD = 34.4); 71 % typically attended practice. Access to job training was provided to the 35 young men with the most on-time arrivals at practice, drug-free RDT, and no red cards for violence. The percentage of young men agreeing to complete RDT at soccer increased significantly over time; RDTs with evidence of alcohol and drug use decreased over time. At the pre-post assessments, the frequency of substance use decreased; and employment and income increased in the immediate condition compared to the delayed condition. HIV testing rates, health care contacts, sexual behaviors, HIV knowledge, condom use and attitudes towards women were similar over time. Alternative engagement strategies are critical pathways to prevent HIV among young men. This feasibility study shows that soccer and job training offer such an alternative, and suggest that a more robust evaluation of this intervention strategy be pursued.


HIV prevention Drug abuse Vocational training Soccer Young men 



This Project was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Grant R34 DA030311; the Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment (CHIPTS) NIMH Grant P30 MH58107; the UCLA Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Grant 5P30AI028697; the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through UCLA CSTI Grant UL1TR000124; the William T. Grant Foundation; and the National Research Foundation, South Africa. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

No conflicts of interest are declared


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark Tomlinson
    • 2
  • Andrew Durkin
    • 3
  • Kelly Baird
    • 3
  • Jeff DeCelles
    • 3
  • Dallas Swendeman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PyschologyStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  3. 3.Grassroot Soccer South AfricaCape TownSouth Africa

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