January 28, 2008
Noting "a lack of effective behavioral interventions for HIV-positive injection drug users (IDUs)," the authors of the current study sought to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention to reduce sexual and injection transmission risk behaviors and to increase utilization of medical care and HIV treatment adherence among this population.
In four U.S. cities, 996 HIV-positive IDUs were recruited for the study. Participants were randomly assigned to a 10-session peer mentoring intervention or to an eight-session video discussion intervention (control condition). Audio computer-assisted self-interviews were completed, and blood was drawn to measure CD4 cell count and viral load at baseline and at three-month (no blood), six-month, and 12-month follow-ups.
For randomized participants, overall retention rates were 87 percent, 83 percent, and 85 percent at three, six, and 12 months, respectively. While participants in both conditions reported significant reductions from baseline in injection and sexual transmission risk behaviors, no significant difference between conditions was detected. Participants in both conditions reported no change in medical care and adherence, and there were no significant differences between conditions.
"Both interventions led to decreases in risk behaviors but no changes in medical outcomes," the authors concluded. "The characteristics of the trial that may have contributed to these results are examined, and directions for future research are identified."