Effects of a coping intervention on transmission risk behavior among people living with HIV/AIDS and a history of childhood sexual abuse

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008 Apr 1;47(4):506-13. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e318160d727.


Objectives: To examine the effect of a 15-session coping group intervention compared with a 15-session therapeutic support group intervention among HIV-positive men and women with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) on sexual transmission risk behavior.

Design: A randomized controlled behavioral intervention trial with 12-month follow-up.

Methods: A diverse sample of 247 HIV-positive men and women with histories of CSA was randomized to 1 of 2 time-matched group intervention conditions. Sexual behavior was assessed at baseline; immediately after the intervention; and at 4-, 8-, and 12-month follow-up periods (5 assessments). Changes in frequency of unprotected anal and vaginal intercourse by intervention condition were examined using generalized linear mixed models for all partners, and specifically for HIV-negative or serostatus unknown partners.

Results: Participants in the HIV and trauma coping intervention condition decreased their frequency of unprotected sexual intercourse more than participants in the support intervention condition for all partners (P < 0.001; d = 0.38, 0.32, and 0.38 at the 4-, 8-, and 12-month follow-up periods, respectively) and for HIV-negative and serostatus unknown partners (P < 0.001; d = 0.48, 0.39, and 0.04 at the 4-, 8-, and 12-month follow-up periods, respectively).

Conclusion: A group intervention to address coping with HIV and CSA can be effective in reducing transmission risk behavior among HIV-positive men and women with histories of sexual trauma.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / transmission
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Education / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Partners