Objective: To compare prevention effectiveness of multisession group counseling with standard HIV prevention counseling for reducing risk behaviors and new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Methods: Small groups of consenting STD clinic patients were randomized to four 1-hour small group counseling interventions based on the information-motivation-behavioral skills (IMB) model with a booster session at 2 months or to the standard two 20-minute individual counseling sessions. Follow-up interviews and examinations were 2, 6, 9, and 12 months after enrollment.
Results: From March 1992 through June 1993, 996 (59%) of 1,681 eligible persons were enrolled; 32 (3%) tested HIV-positive and were excluded. Intervention attendance was 98% for one session, and 47% attended four or five counseling sessions. Follow-up was similar for both groups: 72% attended at least once; 47% returned at 12 months. Both groups had similar increases in condom use and decreases in number of partners, and similar number of new infections with gonorrhea (14%), chlamydia (10%), or syphilis (2%).
Conclusions: Two 20-minute counseling sessions were as effective as four 1-hour group sessions for reducing risk behavior and STD incidence in an STD clinic patient population.