Effects of a family intervention in reducing HIV risk behaviors among high-risk Hispanic adolescents: a randomized controlled trial

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Feb;166(2):127-33. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.189. Epub 2011 Oct 3.


Objective: To determine the efficacy of a family intervention in reducing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk behaviors among Hispanic delinquent adolescents.

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Miami-Dade County Public School System and Miami-Dade County's Department of Juvenile Services, Florida.

Participants: A total of 242 Hispanic delinquent youth aged 12 to 17 years and their primary caregivers completed outcome assessments at baseline and 3 months after intervention.

Intervention: Participants were randomized to either Familias Unidas (120 participants), a Hispanic-specific, family intervention designed to reduce HIV risk behaviors among Hispanic youth, or a community practice control condition (122 participants).

Main outcome measures: Self-reported measures included unprotected sexual behavior, engaging in sex while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, number of sexual partners, and incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Family functioning (eg, parent-adolescent communication, positive parenting, and parental monitoring) was also assessed via self-report measures.

Results: Compared with community practice, Familias Unidas was efficacious in increasing condom use during vaginal and anal sex during the past 90 days, reducing the number of days adolescents were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and had sex without a condom, reducing sexual partners, and preventing unprotected anal sex at the last sexual intercourse. Familias Unidas was also efficacious, relative to community practice, in increasing family functioning and most notably in increasing parent-adolescent communication and positive parenting.

Conclusion: These results suggest that culturally tailored, family-centered prevention interventions may be appropriate and efficacious in reducing HIV risk behaviors among Hispanic delinquent adolescents.

Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01257022.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Child
  • Communication
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Health Behavior
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Unsafe Sex / prevention & control
  • Unsafe Sex / statistics & numerical data

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01257022