Interventions for Substance Using Youth Living with HIV
Increasing numbers of youth are infected with HIV and are confronted with a series of challenges: stopping HIV transmission to others, maintaining health care regimens, improving their quality of life. Over the last 4 years, an intensive 31-session, 3-module intervention was designed, implemented, and evaluated to help youth living with HIV (YLH) meet these challenges. YLH significantly changed behaviors; however, a restructuring of the intervention is required based on new information from our previous study and new scientific breakthroughs: 1) only 30% of YLH continue their substance use and sex risk after learning they are seropositive 2) 30% of YLH never attended any group session, and 3) the recent scientific advances in HIV require addressing beliefs regarding post-exposure prophylaxis, life expectancies, undetectable viral loads, and the role of substance use in adhering to new medical regimens.Therefore, building on the positive results of the previous study, a secondary prevention program, CLEAR (Changing Lifestyles: Effort And Rewards) will be evaluated over 21 months for 200 substance-using YLH (aged 13-23) in Miami and LA. In addition, we will examine I) how YLH’s substance use influences seeking and adhering to combination antiretroviral therapies,and youth’s reinitiation of transmission acts based on their viral loads, beliefs regarding transmissivity of undetectableviral loads, as well as beliefs in post-exposureprophylaxis and life expectancies; 2) how well the components of the Social Action Model predict reductions insubstance use, sexual behaviors, relapse, improvements in health adherence,acquisition of knowledge of the program, and quality of life (3) the cost effectiveness of delivering the prevention program to YLH, as well as monitoring costs for health utilization for medical, nonmedical services, and differential benefits of telephone groups, individual sessions, and small groups (from previous study).
The youth will be randomly assigned to a 3-module intervention (totaling 18 sessions)that is delivered in either a)anonymous telephone groups or b) individual sessions. Based on the Social Action Model, the intervention will 1) in Module 1, reduce substance use sexual behaviors that may transmit or enhance transmission of the HIV virus. 2) in Module 2, reduce the negative impacts of substance use on seeking and utilizing healthcare, and increase assertiveness and adherence to health regimens. 3) In Module 3, enhance quality of life and self-actualization in order to maintain behavior changes over time.