Evaluating the Impact of the Positive Choices Intervention on Substance Use, Psychological, and Care Engagement Outcomes Relevant to Current National HIV Prevention Goals
The HIV epidemic in the United States continues to be a significant public health problem, with approximately 50,000 new infections occurring each year. National public health priorities have shifted in recent years towards targeted HIV prevention efforts among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) that include: increasing engagement in and retention in care, improving HIV treatment adherence, and increasing screening for and treatment of substance use and psychological difficulties. This study evaluated the efficacy of Positive Choices (PC), a brief, care-based, theory-driven, 3-session counseling intervention for newly HIV-diagnosed men who have sex with men (MSM), in the context of current national HIV prevention priorities. The study involved secondary analysis of data from a preliminary efficacy trial of the PC intervention (n=102). Descriptive statistics examined baseline substance use, psychological characteristics and strategies, and care engagement and HIV-related biological outcomes. Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) examined longitudinal changes in these variables by study condition. Results indicated that PC improved adherence to HIV treatment, but increased use of illicit drugs, specifically amyl nitrates and other stimulant drugs; additionally, moderation analyses indicated differences in patterns of change over time in viral load by baseline depression status. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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