An evaluation of an AIDS risk reduction education and skills training program
Kipke, Michele Diane
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the AIDS Risk Reduction Education and Skills Training (ARREST) program's effectiveness at: (a) increasing adolescents' knowledge about HIV transmission and prevention, (b) building assertiveness and communication skills, and (c) changing HIV risk-related sexual and drug use behaviors. ARREST consists of three 90-minute sessions that provide adolescents with: (1) information about HIV transmission and prevention, (2) instruction and demonstration on how to purchase and properly use condoms, (3) instruction on how to evaluate their level of risk and identify high risk situations, and (4) skills training to help adolescents learn how to talk with a sexual partner about the need for prevention, and resist peer pressure to use drugs and engage in unprotected intercourse.;Eighty-seven minority adolescents, aged from 12-16 years (mean = 13.8 yrs.), were recruited from community-based after school programs in New York City. All subjects completed a battery of self-report measures and role play simulations of high risk situations. Subjects were then randomly assigned to either an experimental or control group: subjects in the experimental group received the ARREST intervention; subjects in the control group received no intervention. All subjects then completed the same measures after the experimental group completed the ARREST intervention.;Evaluation of the ARREST program indicated that there were significant post-intervention differences between the experimental and control groups in knowledge and negative attitudes about AIDS, perception of HIV risk, self-efficacy in preventing HIV transmission and behavioral skills for preventing infection and negotiating risk reduction behaviors. There were no post-intervention differences in sexual behaviors between the experimental and control groups.;These findings suggest that ARREST is effective at increasing adolescents' knowledge and behavioral skills for HIV prevention and risk reduction. The lack of change in reported sexual behaviors is likely to be associated with the relatively short period of time in which these behaviors were assessed and the lack of specificity in defining the behaviors. Also, three sessions may not be sufficient time to motivate adolescents to change their sexual behaviors and renegotiate sexual relationships. Future investigations are needed to investigate how ARREST (or a similar intervention) might be modified to change adolescents' HIV risk behaviors, and adapted to use in school and clinic settings.