Objective: The authors used data from a larger study to evaluate the long-term effects of a peer advocate intervention on condom and contraceptive use among HIV-infected women and women at high risk for HIV infection.
Methods: HIV-infected women in one study and women at high risk for HIV infection in a second study were selected from the Women and Infants Demonstration Project and assigned to a standard or an enhanced HIV prevention treatment group. The enhanced intervention included support groups and one-on-one contacts with peer advocates tailored to clients' needs. The authors interviewed women at baseline and at 6-, 12- and 18-months, and measured changes in consistency of condom and contraceptive use and in self-efficacy and perceived advantages and disadvantages of condom and contraceptive use.
Results: Of HIV-infected women, the enhanced group had improved consistency in condom use, increased perceived advantages of condom use, and increased level of self-efficacy compared with the standard group. Of women at risk, the enhanced intervention group at six months maintained consistent condom use with a main partner and perceived more benefit of condom use compared with the standard group. These differences diminished at 12 months.
Conclusions: The enhanced intervention was generally effective in the HIV+ study. In the at-risk study, however, intervention effects were minimal and short-lived. Factors related to the theory, intervention design, and sample characteristics help explain these differences.