Determining What Puts People At Risk for HIV Infection: CDC's Role in Prevention Research

Giving Communities the Tools They Need To Fight HIV

Knowing the who, what, when, where, why, and how of HIV infection risks is a prerequisite to developing effective prevention programs. (For information on CDC's surveillance systems, see "How Does CDC Track HIV Infection and AIDS?," at the CDC press office and through the National AIDS Clearinghouse database.) CDC conducts and sponsors surveillance, epidemiology and behavioral research to answer those questions and then gets the answers to communities, so they can develop and deliver effective local HIV prevention programming.

CDC's behavioral research activities range from large-scale, population-based tracking studies of sexual risk behaviors to targeted research investigating the internal and external determinants of risk behaviors among specific high-risk groups. Activities also include intervention evaluation to learn more about what works and how programs can be improved.

Biomedical research, including natural history research is also vital to evaluate promising prevention methods such as microbicides, the effect of STD treatment on HIV acquisition, and other biologic prevention tools. And CDC examines the integration of behavioral and biomedical solutions, conducting research into people's willingness and ability to adopt new prevention methods and how to increase their adoption.

CDC disseminates prevention research results to the scientific and academic communities; federal, state, and local public health infrastructure; and directly to community-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) serving populations at risk. CDC uses prevention research results to develope guidelines and public health policy. Additionally, HIV Prevention Community Planning groups are both a major recipient and a major distributor of prevention research findings and an integral part of the diffusion of innovative and effective prevention techniques across the U.S. (For more information on HIV Prevention Community Planning, see the companion fact sheet.) CDC also provides technical assistance to all these groups in applying research findings to HIV prevention programs.

CDC scientists will be presenting findings from CDC-sponsored prevention research in Vancouver. Following are highlights of research focused on specific populations:


Family Adolescent Risk Behavior and Communications Study

Half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. are thought to be among people under 25, and the majority of them are infected sexually. More information is needed about the range of adolescent sexual behavior to help develop interventions that are targeted to young people, work within the context of adolescent sexual behavior, and focus on individual, social, and community-level change.


The Prevention of HIV in Women and Infants Project

The Prevention of HIV in Women and Infants Demonstration Project (WIDP) is a community-level behavioral intervention research project underway in five sites across the United States to better understand the social and individual factors that influence women's behaviors regarding condom and contraceptive use, and thus understand how to best design and deliver community-wide interventions that advance women along the continuum of behavior change. The target population for this research is young women (age 15 to 34) at high risk for STD/HIV infection and unintended pregnancy.

Women in Group Support

Research on Female-Controlled Prevention Methods

Gay and Bisexual Men

Young Men's Survey

The Young African-American Men's Study

Injection Drug Users (IDUs)

Epidemiologic Studies of HIV Infection Among Drug Users

The Work Ahead

Prevention research will continue to play an integral role in the planning, implementing, and evaluating HIV prevention programs. CDC must continue to carry out behavioral research to better understand complex issues related to risk behaviors in diverse populations as a basis for developing behavioral interventions. As new biomedical HIV prevention tools are developed, innovative approaches will be necessary to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these tools and practical ways of implementing in diverse populations and circumstances. As HIV treatment options are refined, early knowledge of HIV status will become more and more important, and CDC will work to promote widespread testing and access to treatment. CDC will continue to provide technical assistance, facilitate partnerships at the local level and involve representatives of affected communities in all areas of HIV prevention research..

Prevention Research Presentations in Vancouver


Case-Control Study of HIV Seroconversion in Health Care Workers after Percutaneous Exposure to HIV-infected Blood, Implications for Postexposure Management, David Bell.

Five-Year Trends in HIV Risk Behaviors Among Youth, Janet L. Collins (oral)

The AIDS Community Demonstration Projects: A Successful Multi-Site Community-Level Behavioral Intervention, Martin Fishbein.

Condom Carrying and its Relationship to Condom Use Among High Risk Populations, Carolyn Guenther-Gray.

Tuberculosis (TB) Transmission among AIDS Patients in Puerto Rico, Karen A. Hennessey.

Rapid Decline In Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevalence Among Brothel-based Sex Workers In La Paz, Bolivia: The Experience Of Proyecto Contra Sida, 1992-1995, William C. Levine.

Adolescent Sexual Experience: A New Typology, Kim S. Miller.

Depressive Symptoms and Coping Strategies Among HIV-infected and HIV-Uninfected Women in Four Urban Centers, Jan Moore.

Genetic Diversity of HIV-1 in Thailand, 1994-5, Shambavi Subbarao.

Heterogeneity of Heterosexual Transmission: The Role of Other STDs, Judith Wasserheit.


The Impact of Street Outreach for HIV Prevention in Five High Risk Populations, John Anderson.

Evaluating School-Based HIV/AIDS Education Efforts: A Systematic Approach to Improving Program Quality, Stephen W. Banspach.

Randomized Controlled Trial of Intensive Group Counseling to Reduce Risk Behaviors in High-Risk STD Clinic Patients, Bernard Branson.

Is Prevention Research Reaching Front Line Prevention Programs?: A Descriptive Study from San Francisco, Amy DeGroff.

A Pilot Study of Risk Behaviors and Condom Use among Incarcerated Adolescents, USA, Juarlyn Gaiter.

Association of Penicillin Mass Treatment Program with Sexually Transmitted Diseases among Female Sex Workers in Indonesia, M. Riduan Joesoef.

Incidence Trends in AIDS-related Opportunistic Illnesses in Men Who Have Sex with Men and Injecting Drug Users, Jeffrey L. Jones.

Focus Group Themes that will Shape Participatory Social Marketing Interventions in Five Cities, May Kennedy.

Additional Sources of Care for STD Clinic Patients: Implications for HIV/STD Prevention

Efforts, Jean M. Lawrence.

HIV Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Predictors of Unprotected Sex Among Homeless and Runaway Youth in Four U.S. Communities, Duncan MacKellar.

Access to Sterile Needles in the Collaborative Injection Drug Users Studies (CIDUS), Edgar Monterroso.

Initiation of Sexual Intercourse: Ages and Trends, Ellen Sogolow.

HIV Prevention Programs for Gay and Bisexual Men of Color: A National Initiative, Laurence Tate.

HIV and Risk Behavior Prevalence Among Young Men who Have Sex with Men Sampled in Six Urban Counties in the U.S.A., Linda Valleroy.

HIV Prevention Programs: A Decade of American Experience, Gary West.

High Prevalence of Abnormal Vaginal Flora And Bacterial Vaginosis in Women With or at Risk For HIV Infection, Dora Warren.

Research to Classroom: Selecting and Disseminating Educational Programs that Reduce HIV Risk Behaviors Among Adolescents, Susan Wooley.