Designed to provide
education, social and medical services and peer support to gay, lesbian and
bisexual youths between 14 and 19 years of age, this program combines
case management, comprehensive health care and risk assessment counseling
with small group discussion sessions. During the group sessions, transmission
and prevention of HIV/AIDS are investigated through workshops in which
youth create their own educational materials. Participants also receive
behavioral and cognitive skills training for coping with high-risk
situations. The case management and counseling components are designed
to identify individual needs and provide youth with appropriate services
(e.g., legal, medical, vocational). A field study of the intervention
was initiated with 138 males at a community-based agency serving gay
youth in New York City. The impact of the program was found to vary
over time and across racial/ethnic groups. African-American and white
teens showed a significant decrease in unprotected anal intercourse
at the three-month follow-up assessment; at six months the decrease
was recorded only among whites. On measures of unprotected oral intercourse,
white and Hispanic youths engaged in fewer risk acts through the twelve-month
assessment; for African-Americans, the decrease was maintained only
until six months following the intervention.
This program can
be implemented in a variety of community-based and/or clinic-based
programs serving youth at high risk for contracting HIV/AIDS, providing
that case management and counseling services are available. This program
is also suitable for implementation in residential drug treatment
The original sample
included 138 males, ages 14 to 19 years (avg. = 16.7).
51% Latino, 31% African-American, 12% White, 6% other.
The full intervention
consists of 25 group sessions in addition to regular ongoing counseling
and case management services. It is recommended that two to four sessions
be scheduled per week, which makes the duration of the intervention
7-10 weeks. Each session should last approximately 90 to 120 minutes.
(with approximately 10 youths) are facilitated by two leaders, selected
for their sensitivity to issues of cultural and sexual diversity.
Training should include cognitive-behavioral risk reduction strategies,
coping with clinical crises and group process skills. Other professionals
(e.g., lawyers, vocational counselors) should be on call to provide
legal counseling and other needed social services.