The purpose of this study is to find out if it is possible to conduct a group counseling
program for women at risk for HIV infection.
Women have been the fastest-growing group with new AIDS diagnoses. The need for ways to
reduce HIV infection in women is urgent. It is important to reduce the risk of HIV infection
through sexual contact, but it is also important to address drug use. Group counseling may
be an effective method.
Women have constituted the fastest-growing group of persons with new AIDS diagnoses for
several years. The need to develop and evaluate interventions to reduce the incidence of HIV
infection among women is urgent. The behavioral intervention method tested in this study
integrates elements from diverse theories and empirical evidence for women to feel empowered
to use methods of protection against disease. Although the overall objective of the study
intervention is to reduce the risk of HIV infection through sexual contact, the intervention
must also address drug usage among women.
Women are randomized in a 1 to 1 ratio to either the intervention or control condition. The
Intervention Group participates in 4 group sessions over the course of 1 month and then in
an additional reunion session approximately 1 month after the 4th group session. Sessions
are 2.5 hours long and include 6 to 10 participants. The sessions involve talking about HIV,
ways to avoid HIV, and ways women can support each other. All participants complete a
short-term assessment visit 1 week after the 4th group intervention session. The Control
Group does not participate in group sessions. All participants are paid for their time and
Women may be eligible for this study if they:
- Are at least 18 years old.
- Took part in the VPS2 study and completed 12 months of follow-up, or each participant
must meet at least 1 of the following conditions: 1) has sex with an HIV-infected
male; 2) has sex with a male who has injected drugs in the last 5 years; 3) has had
sex with 5 or more male partners in the last year; 4) exchanged sex for money or
drugs in the last year; 5) was diagnosed with syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, first
episode herpes, pelvic inflammatory disease, and/or trichomonas in the last year; or
6) used crack cocaine in the last year.
- Can speak English.
- Can give information for the purpose of locating.
- Have had at least 30 percent of vaginal or anal intercourse unprotected by condoms in
the 6 months before the study.
- Are HIV-negative.
Women will not be eligible for this study if they:
- Have had sex with only 1 man for 2 years or more who is HIV-negative and does not
inject drugs. The man should not have had sex with anyone else during this time.
- Have a mental condition that would interfere with the study.
- Have any other condition that would interfere with the study.