HIV/AIDS Prevention Among Angolan Military Recruits

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.

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.