Numerous meta-analyses have examined the success of trials of interventions to reduce the behavioral risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV. Yet, to date, meta-reviews have not systematically examined which type of intervention content is more likely to lead to successful HIV outcomes. The current study addresses this gap.
Published meta-analyses on HIV prevention (k = 56) were retrieved, then coded, and analyzed in terms of the intervention content.
Past meta-analyses have examined relatively few dimensions of intervention content. Larger meta-analyses were more likely to find that information content dimensions, especially skill provision and motivational enhancement, relate to risk reduction.
Fully incorporating behavior change technique (BCT) taxonomies into both intervention research and systematic reviews of this research offers considerable potential. It can improve the precision of conclusions about which specific types of content best promote HIV prevention behaviors and help to lower the cost of interventions. International efforts to improve reporting standards and generate the scholarly expertise necessary to discern BCTs reliably and validly help to address some of the challenges to including BCTs in study reports. Contextualizing research on effective strategies for HIV prevention by reporting and including in analyses community, social, and sample factors is also recommended. Together, such efforts can help refocus the field of HIV prevention on improved research strategies to further improve future interventions by discerning the content design factors related to success for particular populations, rather than merely to assess whether interventions have been successful.