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Health Agencies Update
June 25, 2008

Reducing HIV Risks

JAMA. 2008;299(24):2847. doi:10.1001/jama.299.24.2847-a

Patients with HIV who receive counseling about risk-reduction behaviors in the form of an interactive video are less likely to participate in behaviors that may spread the infection or worsen their own condition, according to results from a randomized controlled trial funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

A team of California researchers recruited participants for the trial from 5 outpatient HIV clinics in the San Francisco Bay area (Gilbert P et al. PLoS ONE. 2008;3[4]:e1988). All patients underwent screening for risky behaviors using a computer program on a laptop. Those who were randomized to the intervention also watched an interactive video of an actor portraying a physician counseling them on reducing risky behaviors such as illicit drug use, excessive alcohol use, and unprotected sex. The counseling used the principles of motivational interviewing, a nonconfrontational approach which taps into a patient's concerns about his or her risky behavior as a means to encourage changes in that behavior.