Secondary prevention of HIV infection: the current state of prevention for positives

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Purpose of review

To provide a state-of-the-science review of the literature on secondary prevention of HIV infection or ‘prevention for positives’ (PfP) interventions.

Recent findings

Early work on PfP focused on understanding the dynamics of risky behavior among People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) and on designing, implementing, and evaluating a limited number of interventions to promote safer sexual and drug use behavior in this population (i.e., PfP interventions). Previous meta-analyses demonstrated that PfP interventions can effectively promote safer behavior. However, the understanding of risk dynamics among PLWH and the extant number and breadth of effective PfP interventions were scant. Recent work has addressed some of these problems, yielding greater understanding of risk dynamics and providing additional, effective interventions. Still, only a modest number of recent, rigorously evaluated, effective interventions have been identified. New ideas for creating stronger, more integrated, and effective PfP interventions have emerged that will guide future intervention research and practice.


There remains much to be done to understand why, when, and under what conditions PLWH practice risk. Substantial work also needs to be performed to design, implement, rigorously evaluate, and when effective, to disseminate widely, additional, evidence-based PfP interventions targeting diverse populations. Directing such interventions to populations of PLWH at greatest risk for transmission of HIV has the potential to yield significant impact on the pandemic.

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