Our Work

Brief Care-based HIV Prevention for Newly Diagnosed Men

Project Objectives

PI: Kathleen Sikkema
Investigators: Melissa Watt
Funder: NIH, National Institute for Mental Health
Partner: Callen Lorde Community Health Center in New York, NY

The purpose of this NIMH-funded study was to evaluate the efficacy of a brief positive prevention intervention, called "Positive Choices" for newly HIV-diagnosed men who have sex with men (MSM). This study was conducted in collaboration with Callen Lorde Community Health Center in New York City. Co-investigators for this study were based at Columbia and Yale, and all data collection took place in New York.

150 newly-diagnosed MSM were screened for the study, and 102 met study criteria and were enrolled. They were randomly assigned to the intervention or standard of care at the clinic, then were assessed at baseline, and 3, 6, and 9 month follow-up points. We explored changes in the primary outcomes of sexual behavior and substance use over the course of the year, in order to determine the impact of the brief intervention in reducing risk behavior. All data has been collected and is currently being analyzed. Analyses presented in the main outcomes paper demonstrate the efficacy of Positive Choices on reducing unprotected anal intercourse with serodiscordant partners over time among participants in the intervention condition.

Project Outcomes

Data indicated high levels of HIV risk behavior in the 3 months prior to HIV diagnosis. Specifically, engaging in unprotected anal intercourse was associated with other high risk behaviors and with testing recency. A large portion of the men met criteria for depression in the period immediately post-diagnosis. Assessments of information, motivational influences, behavioral skills, sexual risk behavior, and substance use were collected at baseline and post-intervention (3-, 6-, and 9- month) follow-up points to determine intervention outcome effects. The Positive Choices intervention group significantly reduced the frequency of unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) with HIV negative or serostatus unknown partners over the 9-month follow-up period. A reduction of UAI occurred with both primary and secondary partners at 3-months post intervention. These results provide evidence that brief risk intervention approaches for newly-diagnosed MSM integrated into HIV care can effectively reduce engagement in risky sexual behaviors that may increase the transmission of HIV.

Department & School

Psychology and Neuroscience
Trinity College of Arts and Sciences



  • NIH-National Institute of Mental Health


  • Callen Lorde Community Health Center
  • Columbia University
  • Yale University
  • Callen-Lorde Community Center

Project Status


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