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

April 20, 2017

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

Study suggests a way to stop HIV in its tracks

December 1, 2017
When HIV-1 infects an immune cell, the virus travels to the nucleus so quickly there's not enough time to set off the cell's alarm system.

Discovery puts the brakes on HIV's ability to infect

November 30, 2017
Viewed with a microscope, the virus faintly resembles a pineapple—the universal symbol of welcome. But HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is anything but that. It has claimed the lives of more than 35 million people so far.

Rising levels of HIV drug resistance

November 30, 2017
HIV drug resistance is approaching and exceeding 10% in people living with HIV who are about to initiate or reinitiate first-line antiretroviral therapy, according to the largest meta-analysis to date on HIV drug resistance, ...

Male circumcision and antiviral drugs appear to sharply reduce HIV infection rate

November 29, 2017
A steep drop in the local incidence of new HIV infections accompanied the rollout of a U.S.-funded anti-HIV program in a large East-African population, according to a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ...

Combination HIV prevention reduces new infections by 42 percent in Ugandan district

November 29, 2017
A study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine provides real-world evidence that implementing a combination of proven HIV prevention measures across communities can substantially reduce new HIV infections ...

Research on HIV viral load urges updates to WHO therapy guidelines

November 24, 2017
A large cohort study in South Africa has revealed that that low-level viraemia (LLV) in HIV-positive patients who are receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) is an important risk factor for treatment failure.

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.