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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2009 Jun;41(2):163-71.

Engaging minority men at HIV risk in integrated mental health and drug treatment.

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This article describes Walden House's Enhanced Planetree Intervention Component (EPIC), enhanced substance abuse treatment services that offered minority men mental health services integrated with services for substance abuse and HIV. Of clients entering EPIC in a one-year period, 93% successfully completed treatment, compared to a significantly lower 65% for a group in mainstream treatment that did not receive EPIC services two years before. Interviews with EPIC clients and staff indicated that despite client ambivalence about entering a program for people at HIV risk or minorities, skilled minority therapists helped make EPIC more attractive than standard treatment and contributed to important gains in insight, including insight about sexuality and about cultural expectations. The therapy was perceived to help reduce risk behaviors and helped some stay in treatment. The combination of individual therapy and nonconfrontational small groups appeared culturally sensitive and flexible in meeting varied needs. Although clients who relapsed or left early could continue in EPIC outpatient treatment, the agency's general emphasis on abstinence deterred some. Issues in implementing counseling programs for minority men are discussed.

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