Men who have sex with men (MSM) are the key population most affected by HIV in Europe. We performed the first European multicenter, simple-randomized parallel-group study to test the effectiveness of a theory-guided computer-assisted intervention to improve safer sex among HIV-positive men who have sex with men.
Between February, 2011 and February, 2013, 112 participants were enrolled in 8 different European HIV-care settings. Intervention participants received 3 individual counseling sessions facilitated by trained service providers using computer-assisted tools. The control-group received sexual health advice delivered as part of regular HIV care. Outcome behavior (self-reported condom use at last intercourse; combined HIV transmission risk score), its influencing factors, and mediating variables were assessed at baseline, and at 3 and 6 months follow-up. Mixed effects models were used to compare primary outcomes (condom use at last intercourse, HIV transmission risk score), and mediation analysis to explore intervention effects.
Condom use at last intercourse increased more among intervention than control participants at 3 months follow-up (odds ratio of 3.83; P = 0.03), but not significantly at 6 months follow-up. Intervention participants reported a lower transmission risk at 3 months follow-up than controls (odds ratio compared with baseline of 11.53 and 1.28, respectively; P = 0.008), but this effect became nonsignificant at 6 months. Intervention effects were mediated by the proximal variables, self-efficacy to negotiate condom use and condom attitudes.
This intervention showed short-term effectiveness. The intervention should be replicated in other settings, eventually investigating if booster-counseling sessions would yield a longer lasting effect.