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Successful Safe Sex Intervention for African-American Couples

By Enid Vázquez

September/October 2010

Successful Safe Sex Intervention for African American Couples
According to a press release from the UCLA AIDS Institute, "A new study published online [July 12] in the Archives of Internal Medicine has found that heterosexual African American couples in which only one partner is HIV-positive practiced safer sexual behaviors after participating in a culturally specific intervention program designed to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases."

The program was based on Eban, an African concept which symbolizes "safety, security, and love within one's family and relationship space." "The study of 535 couples, about half of whom received the Eban intervention while the others received a different intervention, was conducted in four cities with high HIV rates (Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, and Philadelphia) through a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition to promoting safer sex, the study also worked on the couples' ability to communicate with each other, to stay in healthy relationships, and to respect their communities."

According to the release, "This study is the first to report a significant reduction in risky behavior among heterosexual African American couples." Those who went through the program based on Eban reported more frequent and consistent condom use and fewer acts of unprotected sex, changes maintained through 12 months of follow-up.

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