Objectives: Interventions to lower HIV risk behavior among drug users have concentrated on reduction of high risk injection practices. Less attention has been directed to non-injecting drug users and drug-involved women. Female non-injecting drug users (e.g., women who abuse alcohol or crack cocaine) are also at substantial risk for sexual transmission of HIV due to multiple partners, partners who self-inject and share needles, exchange of sex for drugs, coerced sex, high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and low rates of condom use. This study compared the effectiveness of an educational intervention (EC) against the behavior skills training intervention (BST) in reducing sexual risk behavior among women (N = 117) court-ordered into inpatient drug treatment.
Methods: Participants were assessed at baseline, post intervention, and 2 months after discharge from the drug treatment facility.
Results: Women in both conditions reported high rates of sexual risk behavior prior to the intervention. Women in both conditions had more positive attitudes toward HIV prevention and reported greater partner agreement with condom use at the post intervention assessment. However, these changes were not maintained at follow-up for women in the EC condition, whereas women in BST continued to show improvement post discharge. Women in the BST condition showed marked, while women in EC showed little improvement in communication skills and no improvement in condom application skill. At follow-up, women in both conditions had reduced drug use and drug-related high risk sex activities. BST women had increased their condom use while women in EC evidenced a decrease. Condom use increased from 35.7% to 49.5% of vaginal intercourse occasions for BST women and decreased from 28.8% to 15.8% for women in EC.
Conclusions: Results suggest a brief skills training intervention embedded in drug treatment programs can reduce sexual risk for HIV-infection after discharge.