Group Counseling to Prevent Sexually Transmitted Disease and HIV: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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To compare prevention effectiveness of multisession group counseling with standard HIV prevention counseling for reducing risk behaviors and new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).


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.


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%).


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.

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