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2.  Development of a treatment optimism scale for HIV-positive gay and bisexual men 
AIDS care  2009;21(9):1090-1097.
Potential items to be included in an HIV Treatment Optimism scale were reviewed by 17 HIV-positive gay and bisexual men (GBM), resulting in a 21-item test instrument. After pilot testing, data were collected from a multi-city sample of high-risk HIV-positive GBM (n = 346), who were currently on treatment and were recruited to attend a two-day sexual health seminar. The scale items were analyzed utilizing Principal Components Analysis and reliability testing. The factor analysis resulted in the development of three separate scales. The Susceptibility scale contained 10 items associated with a belief that HIV is less transmissible while on HIV treatment. The Condom Motivation scale contained five items addressing a decreased motivation to use condoms while on treatment and the Severity scale contained four items associated with a decreased sense of the severity of an HIV diagnosis. Reliability coefficients (α ) and mean inter-item correlations (M) for the three scales were acceptable (Susceptibility, α = 0.86, M = 0.39; Condom Motivation, α = 0.84, M = 0.50; Severity, α = 0.71, M = 0.37). Combined as one scale, the reliability coefficient was respectable (α = 0.76), but the mean inter-item correlation was 0.14. Based on this analysis, use of a single measure was not supported and three separate scales were developed. The scales were equivalent across racial groups except White men were more like to report a decreased motivation to use condoms compared to Black or Latino men. Three separate scales addressing beliefs about the transmissibility of HIV while on treatment (Susceptibility), the quality of life while on HIV treatment (Severity) and the motivation to use condoms consistently while on treatment (Condom Motivation) may be better markers for assessing optimistic beliefs about HIV treatment among HIV-positive GBM.
PMCID: PMC3698947  PMID: 20024767
HIV optimism; gay men; HIV; scale development
This study was designed to examine the impact of HIV treatment optimism on sexual risk among a racially diverse sample of HIV-positive MSM. Survey data were collected from 346 racially diverse HIV-positive MSM. Inclusion criteria: 18 years of age, male, at least one incident of unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) in the last year, currently on treatment. Other variables included demographics, sexual risk, depression, internalized homonegativity, HIV treatment history, alcohol/drug use and beliefs about HIV treatments (Susceptibility to transmit HIV, Severity of HIV infection and Condom Motivation). Those with lower income were more likely to report that HIV was less transmissible. A self-reported decrease in condom motivation was associated with being White, well-educated and increased alcoho/drug use. A decrease in Severity of HIV was associated with better mental health, being non-White and undetectable viral load. Sexual risk appears related to beliefs about how treatment affects the transmissibility of HIV. Race, socioeconomic status, alcoho/drug use, mental health and viral load were also associated with treatment beliefs.
PMCID: PMC3698964  PMID: 20387983
4.  How Do Social Norms Impact HIV Sexual Risk Behavior in HIV Positive Men Who Have Sex with Men: Multiple Mediator Effects 
Journal of health psychology  2009;14(6):761-770.
This study examines mediation of the association between social norms and unsafe sexual behavior. Self-report data were collected from 675 HIV-infected men enrolled in a study exploring interventions for HIV risk behavior. Unsafe sex included any unprotected anal sex with HIV-negative or HIV status unknown partners in the last three months. Norms for condom use indirectly influenced unsafe sex through condom self-efficacy and/or safer sex intentions. Additionally, sexual behavior discontrol influenced unsafe sex regardless of other individual or social factors. Our results suggest that interventions consider the combined effects of condom self-efficacy, safer sex intentions, and sexual behavior control.
PMCID: PMC3433849  PMID: 19687113
Theory of Planned Behavior; unsafe sex; social norms; self-efficacy; intentions
5.  Prayer for Health and Primary Care: Results From the 2002 National Health Interview Survey 
Family medicine  2008;40(9):638-644.
Background and Objectives
Prayer for health (PFH) is common; in 2002, 35% of US adults prayed for their health. We examined the relationship of PFH and primary care visits, with a special focus on African American women, using data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).
We used chi-square analyses to compare the demographic (age group, gender, race, region, marital status, educational level, ethnicity) and health-related covariates (alcohol use, smoking status, and selected medical conditions) between individuals who did and did not pray for their health in the past year. Univariate associations between PFH and visit to primary care provider (PCP), with Mantel-Haenszel adjustment for confounding, were determined. Multivariate regression was used to determine independent factors associated with PFH and PCP visit, with SUDAAN to adjust for the clustered survey design.
Subjects who prayed were more likely to be female, older than 58, Black, Southern, separated, divorced or widowed, and nondrinkers. Subjects who prayed were also more likely to have seen a PCP within the past year. Black women who prayed were also more likely to see a PCP.
These findings suggest that people who pray for their health do so in addition to, not instead of, seeking primary care. This finding is maintained but with a smaller effect size, in Black women.
PMCID: PMC2745279  PMID: 18830839
6.  Hepatitis C Virus Protease Gene Diversity in Patients Coinfected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(8):4196-4199.
The clonal variability of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease gene in 24 individuals with HCV genotypes 1a, 1b, 2b, and 3a who were coinfected with the human immunodeficiency virus was evaluated. Within-genotype variability at the nucleotide and amino acid levels ranged from 6.5 to 8.6% and 2.2 to 3.8%, respectively. After adjustments were made for correlation of intrapatient clonal variation, mixed-model analysis indicated that nucleotide and amino acid variability among patients with different genotypes did not differ significantly. However, within individual patients, clonal variability differed by up to 5.3% and 5.8% at the nucleotide and amino acid levels, respectively, and genotype 1a had significantly greater nucleotide variability than other genotypes (P = 0.01). Significant variability exists within HCV protease gene variants at the patient level and could affect the effectiveness of HCV protease inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC1440459  PMID: 16571838
7.  Intestinal Antilectin Immunoglobulin A Antibody Response and Immunity to Entamoeba dispar Infection following Cure of Amebic Liver Abscess  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(12):6899-6905.
We followed 93 subjects with amebic liver abscess (ALA) and 963 close associate controls at 3-month intervals for 36 months to characterize intestinal and humoral antibody responses to the amebic galactose-inhibitable lectin and to determine whether immunity developed to Entamoeba histolytica or Entamoeba dispar infection following cure of ALA. We found that ALA subjects had a higher prevalence and level of intestinal antilectin immunoglobulin A (IgA) and serum anti-LC3 (cysteine-rich recombinant lectin protein) IgA and IgG antibodies, P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively, compared to controls. The intestinal antilectin IgA antibody response was sustained over a longer time period in ALA subjects (71.8% remained positive at 18 months and 52.6% at 36 months, P < 0.001 compared to 17.6% and 10.3% of controls, respectively). ALA subjects were highly immune to E. dispar infection throughout the study (0% infected at 6 and 36 months, compared to 6.5% and 4.9% of control subjects, respectively, P < 0.05). Upon entry into the study, 6.3% of ALA subjects were infected with E. histolytica; the incidence of new E. histolytica infections in controls (as determined by culture) was too low (1.4%) to determine whether ALA subjects exhibited immunity to new infections. We found that stool cultures every 3 months markedly underestimated the occurrence of new E. histolytica infections, as 15.3% of controls seroconverted after 12 months of follow-up. Unfortunately, under the field conditions present in Durban, South Africa, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detection of lectin antigen in stool yielded unreliable results. In summary, subjects cured of ALA exhibited sustained mucosal IgA antibody responses to the amebic galactose-inhibitable lectin and a high level of immunity to E. dispar infection. Determination of immunity to E. histolytica following cure of ALA will require the use of more sensitive and reliable diagnostic methods.
PMCID: PMC308927  PMID: 14638778
8.  Effects of a behavioral intervention to reduce serodiscordant unsafe sex among HIV positive Men who have Sex with Men: The Positive Connections randomized controlled trial study 
Journal of behavioral medicine  2010;33(2):147-158.
Few behavioral interventions have been conducted to reduce high-risk sexual behavior among HIV-positive Men who have Sex with Men (HIV+MSM). Hence, we lack well-proven interventions for this population.
Positive Connections is a randomized controlled trial (n=675 HIV+MSM) comparing the effects of two sexual health seminars – for HIV+MSM and all MSM – with a contrast prevention video arm. Baseline, 6-, 12- and 18-month follow-up surveys assessed important psychosexual variables and frequency of serodiscordant unprotected anal intercourse (SDUAI).
At post-test, intentions to avoid transmission were significantly higher in the sexual health arms. However, SDUAI frequency decreased equally across all arms, from 15.0 at baseline to 11.5 at 18 months. HIV+MSM engaging in SDUAI at baseline were more likely to leave the study.
Tailoring interventions to HIV+MSM does not appear to increase the effectiveness of HIV prevention. A sexual health approach appears no more effective than video-based HIV prevention.
PMCID: PMC3423322  PMID: 20101454
HIV+MSM; MSM; HIV prevention; behavioral interventions; unsafe sex; prevention for positives
9.  Depressive Symptoms, Utilization of Mental Health Care, Substance Use and Sexual Risk Among Young Men Who have Sex with Men in EXPLORE: Implications for Age-Specific Interventions 
AIDS and behavior  2008;13(4):811-821.
The EXPLORE study evaluated a behavioral intervention to prevent HIV infection among MSM. We examined depressive symptoms, utilization of mental health care, substance use and HIV risk taking behaviors in YMSM aged 16–25 years compared with their older counterparts. YMSM were more likely to report depressive symptoms (OR = 1.55) and less likely to report use of counseling (OR = 0.39) or medication (OR = 0.20) for psychiatric conditions. YMSM were more likely to report heavy alcohol and drug use. YMSM more often reported engaging in unprotected insertive (OR = 1.60) and receptive (OR = 2.07) anal intercourse with presumed HIV-uninfected partners, and unprotected receptive (OR = 1.72) anal intercourse with partners of unknown-HIV status. These findings suggest the need for more appropriate and accessible mental health care and substance use services for YMSM. Additionally, HIV prevention work with this population should provide comprehensive education about HIV testing and risk reduction counseling that focuses on communication about serostatus and safety in sexual situations.
PMCID: PMC2718068  PMID: 18709453
MSM; HIV; Young men; Mental health; Substance use; Sexual behavior

Results 1-9 (9)