Background: Military personnel deployed to foreign countries with high endemic rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are at risk.
Goal: To evaluate a cognitive-behavioral, skills-building intervention to prevent STDs in junior, enlisted, male US Marines deployed to the Western Pacific aboard ships with periodic liberty visits to foreign ports.
Study design: This study, using a quasi-experimental design, assigned 584 men to a cardiopulmonary resuscitation training (n = 288) or a cognitive-behavioral intervention (n = 296). The intervention aimed to increase prevention knowledge, reduce high-risk psychosocial (motivation) factors, and build decision-making and communication skills to reduce risky sexual behaviors and alcohol consumption.
Results: Participation in the intervention was associated with increased knowledge regarding symptoms and treatment of STDs and HIV (P < 0.001), decreased alcohol use (P < 0.01), and sexual risk (P < 0.01) during liberty ports of call.
Conclusion: A multiple-session, cognitive-behavioral, skills-building intervention can be successfully implemented for deployed military personnel.