• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Article

Effects of a social network HIV/STD prevention intervention for MSM in Russia and Hungary: a randomized controlled trial.

AIDS. 2015. Vol. 29. No. 5. P. 583-593.
Amirkhanian Y., Kelly J., Takacs J., McAuliffe T., Kuznetsova A., Toth T., Mocsonaki L., DiFranceisco W., Meylakhs A.

OBJECTIVE:

To test a novel social network HIV risk-reduction intervention for MSM in Russia and Hungary, where same-sex behavior is stigmatized and men may best be reached through their social network connections.

DESIGN:

A two-arm trial with 18 sociocentric networks of MSM randomized to the social network intervention or standard HIV/STD testing/counseling.

SETTING:

St. Petersburg, Russia and Budapest, Hungary.

PARTICIPANTS:

Eighteen 'seeds' from community venues invited the participation of their MSM friends who, in turn, invited their own MSM friends into the study, a process that continued outward until eighteen three-ring sociocentric networks (mean size = 35 members, n = 626) were recruited.

INTERVENTION:

Empirically identified network leaders were trained and guided to convey HIV prevention advice to other network members.

MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURES:

Changes in sexual behavior from baseline to 3-month and 12-month follow-up, with composite HIV/STD incidence, measured at 12 months to corroborate behavior changes.

RESULTS:

There were significant reductions between baseline, first follow-up, and second follow-up in the intervention versus comparison arm for proportion of men engaging in any unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) (P = 0.04); UAI with a nonmain partner (P = 0.04); and UAI with multiple partners (P = 0.002). The mean percentage of unprotected anal intercourse acts significantly declined (P = 0.001), as well as the mean number of UAI acts among men who initially had multiple partners (P = 0.05). Biological HIV/STD incidence was 15% in comparison condition networks and 9% in intervention condition networks.

CONCLUSION:

Even where same-sex behavior is stigmatized, it is possible to reach MSM and deliver HIV prevention through their social networks.