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HIV outreach and prevention efforts a mixed bag

More on HIV prevention, in the wake of last week’s announcement.  It’s not encouraging, to say the least.

A nationwide team of researchers and public health workers recently
completed perhaps the most ambitious effort to reduce H.I.V.
transmission rates among high-risk gay men. The Explore project, as it
is known, followed 4,295 sexually active men in six American cities who
were H.I.V. negative when the study started in 1999. Half the men
received 10 sessions of one-on-one counseling, intended to drive home
the dangers of risky sex and to provide practical strategies for
avoiding it. The other half received two visits a year from a health
clinic worker who discussed risk reduction.

The results,
published last summer, fell short of expectations. After a year, the
rate of new H.I.V. infections was 18 percent lower in the group who had
counseling, and these men were about 20 percent less likely than the
others to have had sex with a partner whose H.I.V. status was unknown.
But after two years, the differences between the two groups vanished.

had a strong initial effect, but it just didn’t last,” said Dr. Thomas
J. Coates, an infectious disease specialist at the University of
California, Los Angeles and a lead author of the study.

studies were even less encouraging: one found that men who received
behavioral counseling were more likely to catch a sexually transmitted
disease than those who did not get the special therapy.

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