A randomized, controlled effectiveness trial of an AIDS prevention program for low-income African-American youths

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996 Apr;150(4):363-72. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170290029004.


Background: Some interventions to reduce the risk of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) that target youths have resulted in short-term increases in self-reported condom use. However, long-term intervention effects have not been assessed.

Study question: Can a theoretically and culturally based, AIDS-risk reduction intervention delivered to naturally formed peer groups increase self-reported condom use among African-American early adolescents at 6 and 12 months of follow-up?

Method: A randomized, controlled trial of a community-based intervention delivered in eight weekly sessions involved 76 naturally formed peer groups consisting of 383 (206 intervention and 177 control) African-American youths 9 to 15 years of age. A theory-based, culturally and developmentally tailored instrument that assessed perceptions, intentions, and self-reported sexual behaviors was administered to all subjects at baseline (preintervention) and 6 and 12 months later.

Results: At baseline, 36% of youths were sexually experienced, and by 12 months of follow-up, 49% were sexually experienced. Self-reported condom use rates were significantly higher among intervention than control youths (85% vs 61%; P<.05) at the 6-month follow-up. However, by 12 months, rates were no longer significantly higher among intervention youths. The intervention impact at 6 months was especially strong among boys (85% vs 57%; P<.05) and among early teens (13 to 15 years old) (95% vs 60%; P<.01). Self-reported condom use intention was also increased among intervention youths at 6 months but not at 12 months. Some perceptions were positively affected at 6 months, but the change did not persist at 12 months.

Conclusions: High rates of sexual intercourse underscore the urgent need for effective AIDS-risk reduction interventions that target low-income urban, African-American preteens and early teens. A developmentally and culturally tailored intervention based on social-cognitive theory and delivered to naturally formed peer groups recruited from community settings can increase self-reported condom use. The strong short-term improvements in behaviors and intentions followed by some relapse over longer periods argue for a strengthened program and research focus on sustainability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / ethnology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Adolescent
  • Black or African American*
  • Child
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Poverty*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population