March 27, 2011

Gay couples could benefit from testing together

Couples-based HIV counseling and testing is well received by gay American men
Study published in AIDS and Behavior
A number of American men who have sex with men are supportive of couples-based voluntary HIV counseling and testing (CVCT), in which couples receive counseling and their HIV test results together, according to a new study by Dr. Rob Stephenson from Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta, USA, and his colleagues. The authors argue that there may be a demand among gay men for this effective strategy, used in Africa amongst heterosexual couples, albeit with some adaptations to the protocol to make it relevant in the US. The work is published online in Springer's journal, AIDS and Behavior.

March 8, 2011

Optimizing Sexual Risk Reduction for Urban STD Clinic Patients

by Michael P. Carey, Ph.D.
Center for Health and Behavior, Syracuse University

Each year, millions of Americans acquire a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Some of these STIs can be cured by medication; others, particularly those caused by viruses, cannot be cured. Thus, tens of millions of sexually active people have lifelong STIs, like herpes, HPV, and HIV, which they may unknowingly pass on to their sexual partners. Some of these STIs have serious consequences, such as permanent damage to reproductive functioning, cancer or AIDS.

To reduce the prevalence and minimize the consequences of STIs, many cities have clinics that provide free (or low cost) testing and treatment. These clinics also provide counseling to help patients reduce their risk of acquiring STIs. It is important to continue improving the effectiveness of such preventive counseling in STI clinical services.

We conducted a study to test a novel two-step approach to delivering sexual risk reduction counseling. The first step involved a brief 15-minute counseling session during a clinic visit. The second step involved a 4-hour workshop about sexual health.