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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2014 Feb;82(1):9-18. doi: 10.1037/a0035311. Epub 2013 Dec 23.

A randomized controlled trial utilizing motivational interviewing to reduce HIV risk and drug use in young gay and bisexual men.

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  • 1Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training, Hunter College of the City University of New York.
  • 2Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York.



Young gay and bisexual men (YGBM) are disproportionally at risk of HIV infection due to sexual risk behaviors, which are often exacerbated by recreational drug use. However, there have been no evidence-based interventions targeting substance-using YGBM. This study was designed to test a brief motivational interviewing (MI) intervention to reduce both risky sex and drug use among HIV-negative YGBM.


A total of 143 non-treatment-seeking YGBM (ages 18-29 years) who reported recent unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) and recreational drug use were randomized to 4 sessions of MI or 4 sessions of content-matched education. Participants were followed every 3 months for 1 year, and behavior change was examined across conditions and time for aggregated and day-level drug use and UAI.


Regardless of condition, participants reported significant reductions in UAI and substance use over time. However, YGBM in the MI condition were 18% less likely to use drugs and 24% less likely to engage in UAI than YGBM in the education condition.


The results support the utility of MI, compared with a content-matched education condition, to significantly reduce both UAI and drug use among YGBM. Interventions may benefit from an emphasis on substance use reductions, which might indirectly lead to less frequent UAI. Future research efforts should examine whether this type of brief MI intervention is effective when delivered by clinic or community settings utilized by YGBM.

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