HIV Prevention Programs Emphasizing ‘Ethnic Pride, Communication Skills’ Increase Condom Usage, Study Says
Sexually active African-American teenage girls, who are at high risk for contracting HIV, were less likely to engage in sex without a condom after taking part in an HIV prevention program that "emphasiz[ed] ethnic pride and communication skills," according to a study published in the July 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, which focuses on HIV/AIDS, and presented Sunday at the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, Long Island Newsday reports (Rabin, Long Island Newsday, 7/11). Ralph DiClemente of Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health and colleagues from December 1996 to April 1999 studied 522 sexually active black girls between the ages of 14 and 18. About half of the participants were separated into an intervention group, which offered information on ethnic and gender pride, communication skills, HIV/AIDS, condom use and healthy relationships. The other half of the participants were offered information on exercise and nutrition. Researchers evaluated the intervention program on the basis of different behavior change factors, including condom use and number of sexual partners, according to the Washington Times. Researchers did not evaluate the program based on an increase in sexual abstinence because "they thought the goal was unrealistic," the Times reports (Howard Price, Washington Times, 7/11). After 12 months, 73% of the 251 girls in the intervention program reported using condoms regularly in the previous 30 days, compared with 56% of the participants in the control group. The girls in the intervention group also were more likely to turn down unsafe sexual advances; slightly less likely to start sexual relationships with new partners; slightly less likely to report pregnancies; and had more favorable attitudes toward condoms, according to the study, Newsday reports (Long Island Newsday, 7/11). Researchers concluded that it is "compellingly urgent" to develop new HIV prevention programs that target high-risk groups (Washington Times, 7/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.