Alongside the recognized need to foster the development of innovative gender-specific HIV interventions, researchers face the urgent need to further understand how current interventions do or do not work. Few studies build posttrial qualitative analysis into standardized interview assessments in randomized controlled trials in order to bolster an assessment of how interventions work. The current investigation is a posttrial qualitative analysis carried out on a randomly selected subsample (N=180), representing 50% of women who participated in a 3-arm randomized controlled trial known as Project FIO (The Future Is Ours). FIO was a gender-specific HIV prevention intervention carried out with heterosexually active women in a high seroprevalence area of New York City. Posttrial qualitative results extend an understanding of the success of the trial (e.g., reductions in unsafe sex). Qualitative results reflect how the Modified AIDS Risk Reduction Model operated in the expected direction across experimental groups. Results also highlight women’s empowerment narratives, reflecting the salience of bodily and sexual rights aspects of the intervention.
Gender-specific HIV interventions; posttrial analysis; intervention impact; methodological triangulation; qualitative methods
Project FIO (The Future Is Ours) was a three arm randomized controlled HIV prevention intervention trial carried out with heterosexually-active women in a high sero-prevalence area of New York City. The trial was effective and women in the eight-session intervention arm were significantly more likely to report decreased unsafe sex or no unsafe sex compared to controls at one month and one year post-intervention. The current investigation was a qualitative analysis of women’s sexual scripts at baseline and one year follow-up for a randomly selected subsample of participants in Project FIO. We examined the domains of sexual initiation, pace setting, sexual decision-making, communication about sexual needs, and the timing of condom introductions in the experimental and control arms at baseline and one year follow-up. At one year follow-up, among both the experimental and control arms, results showed changes away from male-dominated and toward female-dominated sexual initiation and sexual decision-making. Among both the experimental and control arms, results also showed that trial participants shifted from a late condom introduction (right before intercourse) toward much earlier mention of condoms (e.g. during a date). The fact that shifts in sexual scripts at one year follow-up occurred in both groups is likely reflective of the degree to which a lengthy assessment interview facilitated comfort with discussing and imagining new sexual behaviors, even for control group participants who did not receive the intervention. The value of empirically assessing sexual scripts in HIV/AIDS prevention and doing so longitudinally is assessed in light of the goals of HIV prevention interventions.
Sexual scripts; Gender-specific HIV/AIDS prevention interventions; Qualitative methods; Women
As the HIV/AIDS epidemic has progressed, the role of gender inequality in its transmission has become increasingly apparent. Nearly half of those living with the virus worldwide are women, and women's subordination to men increases their risk of infection and makes it harder for them to access treatment once infected. Men, too, suffer from harmful gender norms-the expectation that they will behave in ways that heighten their risk of HIV infection and that they will be cavalier about seeking health care increases their vulnerability to the disease. In the Middle East and North Africa, HIV infection rates are low, but changing gender norms have the potential to accelerate the spread of the disease if gender inequality is not addressed. Improving women's education, workforce participation, and social and political opportunities is crucial to strengthening health in the region. Work with men to shift gender imbalances is a further important task for the region's policymakers and civil society groups.
Gender inequality; gender empowerment; HIV/AIDS; health; Middle East and North Africa
Acute/early HIV infection is a period of high HIV transmission. Consequently, early detection of HIV infection and targeted HIV prevention could prevent a significant proportion of new transmissions. As part of an NIMH-funded multisite study, we used in-depth interviews to explore understandings of acute HIV infection (AHI) among 34 individuals diagnosed with acute/early HIV infection in six U.S. cities. We found a marked lack of awareness of AHI-related acute retroviral symptoms and a lack of clarity about AHI testing methods. Most participants knew little about the meaning and/or consequences of AHI, particularly that it is a period of elevated infectiousness. Over time and after the acute stage of infection, many participants acquired understanding of AHI from varied sources, including the Internet, HIV-infected friends, and health clinic employees. There is a need to promote targeted education about AHI to reduce the rapid spread of HIV associated with acute/early infection within communities at risk for HIV.
HIV/AIDS; Awareness; Acute HIV; HIV prevention
The escalating HIV/AIDS epidemic worldwide demands that on-going prevention efforts be strengthened, disseminated, and scaled-up. System-level interventions refer to programs aiming to improve the functioning of an agency as well as the delivery of its services to the community. System-level interventions are a promising approach to HIV/AIDS prevention because they focus on (a) improving the agency’s ability to adopt evidence-based HIV prevention and care programs; (b) develop and establish policies and procedures that maximize the sustainability of on-going prevention and care efforts; and (c) improve decision-making processes such as incorporating the needs of communities into their tailored services. We reviewed studies focusing on system-level interventions by searching multiple electronic abstracting indices, including PsycInfo, PubMed, and ProQuest. Twenty-three studies out of 624 peer-reviewed studies (published from January 1985 to February 2007) met study criteria. Most of the studies focused on strengthening agency infrastructure, while other studies included collaborative partnerships and technical assistance programs. Our findings suggest that system-level interventions are promising in strengthening HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts. Based on our findings, we propose recommendations for future work in developing and evaluating system-level interventions.
Systems; Structural; Social Intervention; HIV/AIDS; Review
Leadership development among all sectors addressing HIV/AIDS has come to be recognized as a critically important endeavor as the HIV pandemic moves into its fourth decade. Globally, there is a tremendous need for well-trained leaders in healthcare, research, policy, programme management, activism and advocacy, especially in countries and settings with high HIV prevalence and limited human resource capacity. This article examines the growing need for HIV/AIDS leadership development, and describes and assesses a number of current initiatives that focus on leadership development in a variety of populations and settings. A series of recommendations are provided to expand the scope and impact of leadership development activities; recommendations are primarily targeted towards foundations and other funders and leadership development programme managers.
AIDS; HIV; internationality; leadership
The authors examined associations between psychosocial variables (coping self-efficacy, social support, and cognitive depression) and subjective health status among a large national sample (N = 3,670) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive persons with different sexual identities. After controlling for ethnicity, heterosexual men reported fewer symptoms than did either bisexual or gay men and heterosexual women reported fewer symptoms than did bisexual women. Heterosexual and bisexual women reported greater symptom intrusiveness than did heterosexual or gay men. Coping self-efficacy and cognitive depression independently explained symptom reports and symptom intrusiveness for heterosexual, gay, and bisexual men. Coping self-efficacy and cognitive depression explained symptom intrusiveness among heterosexual women. Cognitive depression significantly contributed to the number of symptom reports for heterosexual and bisexual women and to symptom intrusiveness for lesbian and bisexual women. Individuals likely experience HIV differently on the basis of sociocultural realities associated with sexual identity. Further, symptom intrusiveness may be a more sensitive measure of subjective health status for these groups.
coping; depression; HIV; sexual identity; symptoms; social support
Recruiting and retaining high-risk individuals is critical for HIV prevention trials.
The current analyses addressed predictors of trial dropout among high-risk HIV-infected men and women.
Trial dropouts (n=74) were more likely to be younger, depressed, and not taking antiretroviral therapy than those who continued (n=815). No other background, substance use, or transmission risk differences were found, suggesting no dropout bias on key risk outcomes.
Efforts are warranted for early detection and treatment of depression and for improving retention of younger participants.
Clinical Trials; Prevention; Retention; Depression