Telephone counseling sustains impact of HIV-prevention intervention

December 1, 2014

Brief tailored counseling by telephone boosted the long-term effects of an evidence-based behavioral change intervention related to sexually transmitted infection/human immunodeficiency virus (STI/HIV), sustaining STI/HIV preventive behaviors and reducing incident STIs during a 36-month follow-up.

 

Brief tailored counseling by telephone boosted the long-term effects of an evidence-based behavioral change intervention related to sexually transmitted infection/human immunodeficiency virus (STI/HIV), sustaining STI/HIV preventive behaviors and reducing incident STIs during a 36-month follow-up.

Investigators divided into 2 groups 701 African American adolescent girls, aged from 14 to 20 years, recruited from 3 clinics providing sexual health services. The intervention group of 342 girls received HORIZONS, a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is designed to enhance STI/HIV preventive attitudes; sexual negotiation and refusal skills; safer sex norms; and preventive behaviors. The intervention group also received a maintenance program of telephone counseling every 8 weeks over 36 months. The control group (359 participants) received HORIZONS plus a placebo, a telephone counseling intervention focused on general health promotion.

During the 36-month follow-up, fewer girls in the intervention group had chlamydial infections compared with the control group (94 vs 104 participants, respectively) and fewer had gonococcal infections (48 vs 54, respectively) (DiClemente RJ, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168[10]:938-946).

Commentary: The researchers point out that “New advances in mobile technology are transforming public health.” They are right. Across races and socioeconomic classes, most adolescents in the United States (and, I suspect, in other countries as well) have a mobile phone that is rarely out of reach and almost never turned off. We are going to see a flood of applications and clever programs that leverage this technology to bring adolescents into the healthcare system and improve their health. -Michael G Burke, MD

 

Ms Freedman is a freelance medical editor and writer in New Jersey. Dr Burke, section editor for Journal Club, is chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Saint Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. The editors have nothing to disclose in regard to affiliations with or financial interests in any organizations that may have an interest in any part of this article.