Efficacy of an HIV prevention intervention for African American adolescent girls: a randomized controlled trial

JAMA. 2004 Jul 14;292(2):171-9. doi: 10.1001/jama.292.2.171.


Context: African American adolescent girls are at high risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, but interventions specifically designed for this population have not reduced HIV risk behaviors.

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of an intervention to reduce sexual risk behaviors, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and pregnancy and enhance mediators of HIV-preventive behaviors.

Design, setting, and participants: Randomized controlled trial of 522 sexually experienced African American girls aged 14 to 18 years screened from December 1996 through April 1999 at 4 community health agencies. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire and an interview, demonstrated condom application skills, and provided specimens for STD testing. Outcome assessments were made at 6- and 12-month follow-up.

Intervention: All participants received four 4-hour group sessions. The intervention emphasized ethnic and gender pride, HIV knowledge, communication, condom use skills, and healthy relationships. The comparison condition emphasized exercise and nutrition.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measure was consistent condom use, defined as condom use during every episode of vaginal intercourse; other outcome measures were sexual behaviors, observed condom application skills, incident STD infection, self-reported pregnancy, and mediators of HIV-preventive behaviors.

Results: Relative to the comparison condition, participants in the intervention reported using condoms more consistently in the 30 days preceding the 6-month assessment (unadjusted analysis, intervention, 75.3% vs comparison, 58.2%) and the 12-month assessment (unadjusted analysis, intervention, 73.3% vs comparison, 56.5%) and over the entire 12-month period (adjusted odds ratio, 2.01; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28-3.17; P =.003). Participants in the intervention reported using condoms more consistently in the 6 months preceding the 6-month assessment (unadjusted analysis, intervention, 61.3% vs comparison, 42.6%), at the 12-month assessment (unadjusted analysis, intervention, 58.1% vs comparison, 45.3%), and over the entire 12-month period (adjusted odds ratio, 2.30; 95% CI, 1.51-3.50; P<.001). Using generalized estimating equation analyses over the 12-month follow-up, adolescents in the intervention were more likely to use a condom at last intercourse, less likely to have a new vaginal sex partner in the past 30 days, and more likely to apply condoms to sex partners and had better condom application skills, a higher percentage of condom-protected sex acts, fewer unprotected vaginal sex acts, and higher scores on measures of mediators. Promising effects were also observed for chlamydia infections and self-reported pregnancy.

Conclusion: Interventions for African American adolescent girls that are gender-tailored and culturally congruent can enhance HIV-preventive behaviors, skills, and mediators and may reduce pregnancy and chlamydia infection.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Black or African American* / ethnology
  • Black or African American* / psychology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / ethnology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Harm Reduction*
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Sexual Behavior* / ethnology
  • Sexual Behavior* / psychology
  • United States