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Translation of basic research in cognitive science to HIV-risk: a randomized controlled trial

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Many people enrolled in drug diversion programs are not receiving evidence-based prevention for HIV or hepatitis. This study translated basic research from cognitive science to increase screening for infection and condom use in this population. A parallel three-condition randomized trial was conducted in a drug diversion sample (N = 358), comparing a memory practice condition with two active control conditions. Outcomes were condom use frequency and testing for infection (hepatitis B/C, HIV). At 3-month follow-up, participants in the memory practice condition were at least twice as likely (OR = 2.10 or greater, p < .01) to self-report testing compared to those in the control conditions and also reported more frequent condom use compared to a health education condition [B = .37, t(1) = 2.02, p = .02]. Basic research on memory can be effectively translated to brief interventions on infection screening and risk prevention in existing drug diversion programs.

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The authors thank for their educational videos, Susan Ames, Jerry Grenard, and Peter Graf for advice about some of the procedures, and Amy Custer, Sulay Gomez, and Octavia Freeman for assistance with the manuscript, computer programming, and data collection.


Research reported in this publication was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded to Alan Stacy (R01DA033871) and from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism awarded to Mary Larimar partially supporting Yusuke Shono (T32AA007455). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Alan W. Stacy.

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Alan W. Stacy, Liesl A. Nydegger and Yusuke Shono declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Stacy, A.W., Nydegger, L.A. & Shono, Y. Translation of basic research in cognitive science to HIV-risk: a randomized controlled trial. J Behav Med 42, 440–451 (2019).

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