New behavioral intervention targets Latino men at high risk of HIV infection

April 20, 2017, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for two thirds of all new HIV infections in the United States, with 26 percent occurring in Latinos, according to 2014 data. If those rates continue, it is estimated that one in four Latino MSM may be diagnosed with HIV during his lifetime.

In an effort to reduce those infection rates, scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developed, implemented and evaluated a behavioral intervention program called HOLA en Grupos.

"We found that we can prevent HIV infection among a very hard-to-reach and growing population in the South," said the study's principal investigator Scott D. Rhodes, Ph.D., chair of social sciences and health policy and director of the Program in Community Engagement at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist.

"This is one of the first interventions specifically developed for Latino men and we had a 100 percent retention rate, which is unheard of in biomedical, behavioral and translational research."

The findings are published in the April 20 online edition of the American Journal of Public Health.

In the study, the researchers evaluated the Spanish language, small-group behavioral HIV prevention program designed to increase condom use and HIV testing - two methods proven to reduce - among Latinos who have sex with men.

From 2012 to 2015, 304 Latino MSM ages 18 to 55 were recruited in North Carolina and randomized to the four-session HOLA en Grupos intervention or to a general health education intervention. Participants completed structured assessments at baseline and at six-month follow-up.

At follow-up, the HOLA participants reported that consistent condom use during sex had increased from 33 percent to 65 percent, as compared to the control group that reported little change. The HOLA group also reported an increase in HIV testing from 32 percent to 80 percent as compared to the control group, which reported no significant change.

HOLA participants also reported increased knowledge of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, condom use skill, sexual communication skills and decreased fatalism, according to the study.

"This has significant ramifications because we've learned how to reach people at high risk and reduce ," Rhodes said. "We've developed a guide on how to implement the program so it should be easy to replicate in other states."

Explore further: Diversity within Latino population may require more nuanced public health approaches

Related Stories

Diversity within Latino population may require more nuanced public health approaches

April 11, 2017
Not all Latinos face the same health challenges, suggesting that public health approaches may need to be tailored based on needs of the diverse groups within the Latino population, new research from Oregon State University ...

Behavioral interventions can increase condom use, reduce sexually transmitted infections

December 15, 2011
Behavioral interventions aimed at reducing sexual risk behaviors, such as unprotected sex, are effective at both promoting condom use and reducing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) long after the initial intervention, ...

Study examines sexual risk-taking, HIV prevention among older adults in Africa

January 31, 2017
One of the most common myths around older adults is that they are not sexually active. But a recent study conducted by researchers at Indiana University found that older men and women do maintain sexual relationships even ...

Recommended for you

HIV-1 viruses transmitted at birth are resistant to antibodies in mother's blood

April 19, 2018
Of the genetically diverse population of HIV-1 viruses present in an infected pregnant woman, the few she might transmit to her child during delivery are resistant to attack by antibodies in her blood, according to new research ...

Top HIV cure research team refutes major recent results on how to identify HIV persistence

April 18, 2018
An international team focused on HIV cure research spearheaded by The Wistar Institute in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania and Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) in Barcelona, Spain, established that ...

Scientists discover new way that HIV evades the immune system

April 17, 2018
Scientists have just discovered a new mechanism by which HIV evades the immune system, and which shows precisely how the virus avoids elimination. The new research shows that HIV targets and disables a pathway involving a ...

Team develops new way to fight HIV transmission

April 16, 2018
Scientists at the University of Waterloo have developed a new tool to protect women from HIV infection.

Genetically altered broadly neutralizing antibodies protect monkeys from HIV-like virus

April 16, 2018
Two genetically modified broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) protected rhesus macaques from an HIV-like virus, report scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National ...

How does HIV escape cellular booby traps?

April 5, 2018
HIV is believed to have evolved from a simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, that originated in chimpanzees. How SIV made the species jump has remained a mystery, since humans possess a defense mechanism that should prevent ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.