WILLOW: HIV Transmission Reduction Among Women
Living with HIV
Traditional methods of preventing the transmission of STIs and HIV/AIDS focus
on decreasing risk behaviors while increasing condom usage among individuals
who are HIV negative. Included in those methods are individual counseling and
group interventions. Few risk reduction interventions are developed specifically
for women who have tested positive for HIV, despite data that indicate that
a growing number of women acquired their infections through heterosexual contact.
WILLOW was designed as a group intervention for African American women. The intervention incorporates elements of sexual risk reduction and social networking to reduce STI/HIV sexual transmission and to enhance psychosocial mediators and structural factors associated with preventive behaviors over a one-year period.
The evaluation of WILLOW was a randomized controlled study including 366 women who were assigned to either the intervention (n=190) or comparison (n=176) conditions. Criteria for eligibility included: HIV+ serostatus; aged 18-50; and sexually active during the past six months. Following a baseline assessment, women were randomly assigned to one of two conditions. Follow-up assessments were conducted at six and twelve months post intervention.
Over the 12-month follow-up period, women in the intervention group, as compared to their comparison group counterparts, reported fewer incidents of unprotected vaginal intercourse (1.8 vs. 2.5; P=0.022); were less likely to report never using condoms (OR=0.27; P=0.008); had a lower rate of bacterial infections (OR=0.19, P=0.006); reported greater HIV knowledge and condom use self-efficacy, more network members, fewer beliefs that condoms interfere with sex, and fewer partner-related barriers to condom use; and demonstrated greater skill in using condoms. View more detailed information on this program.
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