Efficacy of an adapted HIV and sexually transmitted infection prevention intervention for incarcerated women: a randomized controlled trial

Am J Public Health. 2015 Apr;105(4):802-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302105. Epub 2014 Sep 11.


Objectives: We tested the efficacy of an adapted evidence-based HIV-sexually transmitted infection (STI) behavioral intervention (Providing Opportunities for Women's Empowerment, Risk-Reduction, and Relationships, or POWER) among incarcerated women.

Methods: We conducted a randomized trial with 521 women aged 18 to 60 years in 2 correctional facilities in North Carolina in 2010 and 2011. Intervention participants attended 8 POWER sessions; control participants received a single standard-of-care STI prevention session. We followed up at 3 and 6 months after release. We examined intervention efficacy with mixed-effects models.

Results: POWER participants reported fewer male sexual partners than did control participants at 3 months, although this finding did not reach statistical significance; at 6 months they reported significantly less vaginal intercourse without a condom outside of a monogamous relationship and more condom use with a main male partner. POWER participants also reported significantly fewer condom barriers, and greater HIV knowledge, health-protective communication, and tangible social support. The intervention had no significant effects on incident STIs.

Conclusions: POWER is a behavioral intervention with potential to reduce risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV and STIs among incarcerated women returning to their communities.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Counseling / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Prisoners*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult