Journal Article

Effectiveness of behavior change communications for reducing transmission risks among people living with HIV in 6 countries in Central America

This first region-wide study (N = 2,818) aims to estimate prevalence of HIV-related risks (sexual behavior, HIV disclosure, number of sex partners, violence) and factors associated with these risks as well as evaluate a behavior change communications program targeted to PLHIV in 6 countries in Central America. After 2 years, the program achieved moderate coverage, with 21 % of the sample reporting exposure to interpersonal communications (IPC) and 52% to mass media program components. The odds of condom use, HIV disclosure, and participation in a self-help group increased by 1.4–1.8 times with exposure to mass media. Exposure to IPC increased odds of condom use by 2.7 and participation in self-help groups by 4.4 times. In addition, being in HIV care or taking ART was associated with condom use and HIV-status disclosure. About 30% experienced physical or sexual violence, and those who did were 4 times less likely to use condoms. Findings suggest that behavioral interventions for PLHIV can reduce HIV-transmission risks and increase access to care.