HIV/AIDS Prevention Among Angolan Military Recruits

At a glance:

Project Name:

HIV/AIDS Prevention among Angolan Military Recruits

Brief overview:

Soldiers, many of whom are young, mobile, and sexually-active men, can unintentionally spread the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from high-risk populations (e.g., commercial sex workers) to lower-risk populations (e.g., their wives or girlfriends).  In addition, high HIV rates in the military threaten the stability and security of countries, such as Angola in sub-Saharan Africa.  Thus, an evidence-based prevention intervention targeted at this bridge group is timely and an important component of national and international HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

The primary goals of this study were to assess the impact over time, both within and between groups, of an HIV/AIDS-focused prevention intervention (treatment) and a non-HIV/AIDS-focused health promotion intervention (control) on HIV/AIDS-related behaviors, knowledge, attitudes, and motivation.

Geographical Location: Angola

Targeted Risk Group: Male soldiers

Intervention Model:  Randomized Control Trial

Research methods:

We developed and evaluated a military-focused HIV prevention intervention to enhance HIV risk-reduction knowledge, motivation, and behaviors among Angolan soldiers. Twelve bases were randomly assigned to HIV prevention or control conditions, yielding 568 participants. HIV prevention participants received training in preventing HIV (4.5 days) and malaria (0.5 days). Control participants received the reverse. Monthly booster sessions were available after each intervention. We assessed participants at baseline, 3 and 6 months after the training.

Local and International Significance:  HIV prevention participants reported greater condom use and less unprotected anal sex at 3 months, as well as greater HIV-related knowledge and perceived vulnerability at 3 and 6 months. Within-group analyses showed HIV prevention participants increased condom use, reduced unprotected vaginal sex, and reduced numbers of partners at both follow-ups, while control participants improved on some outcomes at 3 months only. A military-focused HIV prevention intervention may increase HIV-related knowledge, motivation, and risk reduction among African soldiers.

References:  

Bing, E.G., Cheng, K. G., Ortiz, D. J., Ovalle-Bahamon, R. E.,  Ernesto, F., & Weiss R. E. (2008).  Evaluation of a Prevention Intervention to Reduce HIV Risk among Angolan Soldiers. AIDS and Behavior. 12(3), 384-395.

Russak, S.M, Ortiz, D.J., Galvan, F., Bing, E.G., (2005). Protecting our Militaries: A systematic literature review of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome prevention programs worldwide.  Military Medicine, 170, 886-897.