In the absence of an effective HIV vaccine, safer sexual practices are necessary to avert new infections. Therefore, we examined the efficacy of behavioral interventions to increase condom use and reduce sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
Studies that examined a behavioral intervention focusing on reducing sexual risk, used a randomized controlled trial or a quasi-experimental design with a comparison condition, and provided needed information to calculate effect sizes for condom use and any type of STI, including HIV.
Studies were retrieved from electronic databases (eg, PubMed, PsycINFO) and reference sections of relevant papers. Forty-two studies with 67 separate interventions (N = 40,665; M age = 26 years; 68% women; 59% Black) were included. Independent raters coded participant characteristics, design and methodological features, and intervention content. Weighted mean effect sizes, using both fixed-effects and random-effects models, were calculated. Potential moderators of intervention efficacy were assessed.
Compared with controls, intervention participants increased their condom use [d+ = 0.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.04, 0.29; k = 67], had fewer incident STIs (d+ = 0.16, 95% CI = 0.04, 0.29; k = 62), including HIV (d+ = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.13, 0.79; k = 13). Sample (eg, ethnicity) and intervention features (eg, skills training) moderated the efficacy of the intervention.
Behavioral interventions reduce sexual risk behavior and avert STIs and HIV. Translation and widespread dissemination of effective behavioral interventions are needed.