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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Jan 1;127(1-3):220-5. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2012.07.006. Epub 2012 Aug 11.

Characterizing and improving HIV/AIDS knowledge among cocaine-dependent outpatients using modified materials.

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Department of Psychology, University of Vermont, Room 1415 UHC, 1 So. Prospect Street, Burlington, VT 05401, USA.



Only 56% of outpatient substance abuse treatment programs in the U.S. provide HIV/AIDS education, likely due to the time required to complete existing educational interventions. This report describes results of a third study in a series to develop a brief educational intervention to increase HIV/AIDS knowledge among cocaine-dependent outpatients.


Participants (N=90) were randomized to experimental or control conditions and completed two HIV/AIDS knowledge pre-tests with response formats modified to "true-false-don't know." Pre-test results were later compared to historical controls that completed pre-tests in their original "true-false" format. Next, participants in the experimental condition completed an HIV/AIDS educational intervention while participants in the control condition completed a sham intervention. Participants in both conditions then completed knowledge tests a second time. Participants in both conditions were subsequently crossed over, and then completed knowledge tests a third time. Post-intervention analyses were conducted using test data from all participants who completed the educational intervention (N=56). A subset of these participants (N=40) completed follow-up tests approximately 9 weeks after completing the educational intervention.


Scores on both pre-tests were lower than those observed in historical controls (p<.001). Scores on knowledge tests increased from baseline after participants completed the educational intervention (p<.001), but not after the sham intervention (p>.05). Scores at follow-up remained higher than baseline scores (p<.001).


Modifying response formats to include a "don't know" option likely increases identification of baseline knowledge deficits. This brief intervention is effective at increasing HIV/AIDS knowledge among cocaine-dependent outpatients.

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