Changes in Sexual Behavior of HIV-Infected Older Adults Enrolled in a Clinical Trial of Standalone Group Psychotherapies Targeting Depression

Travis Lovejoy, Timothy G. Heckman, Kathleen J. Sikkema, Nathan B. Hansen, Arlene Kochman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


By 2015, one-half of all HIV-positive persons in the U.S. will be 50-plus years of age, and as many as 30 % of older adults living with HIV/AIDS continue to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse. Contemporary positive prevention models often include mental health treatment as a key component of HIV prevention interventions. This secondary data analysis characterized longitudinal patterns of sexual behavior in HIV-positive older adults enrolled in a randomized controlled trial of group mental health interventions and assessed the efficacy of psychosocial treatments that targeted depression to reduce sexual risk behavior. Participants were 295 HIV-positive adults ≥50 years of age experiencing mild to severe depressive symptoms, randomized to one of three study conditions: a 12-session coping improvement group intervention, a 12-session interpersonal support group intervention, or individual therapy upon request. Approximately one-fifth of participants reported one or more occasions of unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse with HIV-negative sexual partners or persons of unknown HIV serostatus over the study period. Changes in sexual behavior did not vary by intervention condition, indicating that standalone treatments that target and reduce depression may be insufficient to reduce sexual risk behavior in depressed HIV-positive older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014



  • Aging
  • Clinical trial
  • Depression
  • Unprotected sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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